Ziggy Stardust at Sag Harbor Cinema

David Bowie in "Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” D.A. Pennebaker’s 1973 film. Courtesy Sag Harbor Cinema.

As worldwide celebrations marked what would have been David Bowie’s 75th birthday on January 8, Sag Harbor Cinema hosts a rare screening of “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” D.A. Pennebaker’s film of David Bowie’s legendary final performance as Ziggy Stardust, held at the Hammersmith Odeon on July 3, 1973. The film will be screened at Sag Harbor Cinema on Sunday, January 16, at 7 p.m.

Part of the yearlong retrospective created by the cinema to celebrate the work of D.A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, the special screening will offer the audience an exclusive opportunity to see the film in a 35mm print from the filmmakers’ personal collection. The screening will be followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Chris Hegedus and founding artistic director, Giulia D’Agnolo Vallan.

“Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars” captured a defining moment in music history, a spectacular concert during which Bowie retired his fabulously fashionable alien rock star alter ego. The audience gasped and screamed as he uttered “The last show we’ll ever do,” thinking that it was Bowie himself who would be gone forever.

David Bowie in “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” D.A. Pennebaker’s 1973 film. Courtesy Sag Harbor Cinema.

A founding father of glam rock, “Ziggy” was in Bowie’s own words: “My Martian messiah who twanged a guitar… Someone who dropped down here, got brought down to our way of thinking, and ended up destroying his own self”. He would revisit a similar character in Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 film “The Man Who Fell to Earth.”

“Ziggy’s androgynous, super sensual beauty and his otherworldly costumes designed by Kansai Yamamoto lent themselves naturally to Pennebaker’s trademark verité style, combining the electricity of live music captured on film with an eye for stylized, almost abstract images,” Vallan said. “This is one of Pennebaker’s most visually striking films. And it is a privilege that we can screen it in 35mm.”

Though a shortened version of the film was broadcast on television in 1974, the film did not receive a full theatrical release until 1983. The concert featured numerous fan favorites such as, “Ziggy Stardust,” “Moonage Daydream,” “Changes,” and “Space Oddity,” as well as a cover of the Velvet Underground’s “White Light/White Heat.” While the footage shot behind the scenes shows Bowie as he jokes and laughs with assistants, the veil of mystery is drawn, and no one seems to notice the camera crew catching them all utterly out of their element.

This screening is made possible courtesy of DCD Rights Ltd.

Sag Harbor Cinema is at 90 Main Street, Sag Harbor. For tickets visit sagharborcinema.org.