David Bowie and “The ManWhoFell to Earth”

Philip K.Dick’s Valis, his gnostic novel, much beloved of all esotericism inspired me to watch a David Bowie film that I had been meaning to get to someday.  The novel pushed the film up from somewhere near the bottom of my list to somewhere near the top.  The film plays a large roll in Valis.  It would have dropped again in importance had I not spotted it on the DVD shelf of my castle’s thrift shop (I live in a castle, St. Marx Episcopal Church, Milwaukee) the day after I returned Valis to the library.

I hauled the old flatscreen from the St.Marx utility office into the guild hall, and shoved in the DVD.  I poured a generous glad of bourbon and settled in to the masterpiece, The Man Well Feel To Earth.  It was startlingly 70’s, that is, full frontal.  I lost no time in comparing the Bowie knife with my own, and am please to report that there was no appreciable difference. 

 I enjoyed the film.  It has a low budget aesthetic that I love.  The many full frontal sex scenes are refreshingly naturalistic.  That is, none of the actors or actresses are retouched supermodels.  70’s realism allowed for real people in the media, even for ugly people.  Go look up T.V. commercials from the period.

I have not yet grasped the film’s meaning.  It’s about loss and sinking from purity into our world of noise and inebriation, but that’s just the surface action.  I recommend it.  It has something to say.  I don’t know what exactly, but something.  And it has the P.K. Dick seal of approval.  I see that it will bear repeated viewings.

Perhaps I would have enjoyed it more if my castle’s housekeeper, my neighbour, hadn’t chosen that moment, ten at night, to vacuum the entrance rugs and then lead her two grade-school grandchildren on a Valentine’s Day present hunt right in my face.  I had to physically stand and block the flat screen at one point when a  7 year old boy crossed behind the couch, just, of course, JUST as the penultimate full frontal scene crashed and moaned across the screen.

It always works that way, I mused, watching the tail end of the semi-erotic action, empty glass in hand. The children scampered away, and the church yawned, and the alien remained a castaway never to see his family again.