As we mourn the passing of David Bowie, we can”t help but marvel at how often his music has resonated with filmmakers, how often his songs were just what a movie needed to craft a key emotional moment. (HitFix”s Alan Sepinwall reflected on the prevalence and relevance of his music on both the big and small screen in this post.)
Yet another time a filmmaker turned to Bowie, one you may have not seen: A 2008 short film called “Polarbearman.” It depicts a man trying to live normal life, as water levels in his house rise – simple and effective images to raise awareness about melting ice caps displacing polar bears.
Lee Pace (“Pushing Daisies,” “Guardians of the Galaxy”) stars in the six-minute film, made for environmental awareness project Live Earth. Pace doesn”t say a word in the short, except for when he puts in his earbuds, listens to Bowie”s “Five Years,” and belts out the 1972 song while taking a bath.
David Bowie – a music icon probably plenty of us have sung off-key and absentmindedly in the shower, but its bathtime presence in this short holds another layer of meaning: “Five Years” is from “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars,” and as part of that concept album, it tells of an Earth doomed to destruction in five years – here, in “Polarbearman,” it evokes the ticking clock for our own real Earth, especially for animals threatened by extinction in the wake of climate change.
“Five years, that's all we've got. We've got five years.”
Watch the short here: