• Sacred Triangle, The – Bowie, Iggy & Lou 1971 - 1973



    Released by: MVD
    Released on: 11/23/2010
    Director: N/A
    Cast: David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Angela Bowie, Billy Name, Jayne County
    Year: 2010
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    The Movie:

    In late 1971, David Bowie’s career was in a pretty fast moving downward spiral. He had one marginal hit under his belt but had struggled to find his voice after that. His career wasn’t really going anywhere and he was having trouble finding inspiration. Around the same time, Lou Reed was having similar problems. The Velvet Underground had crashed and burned and while had certainly earned a fair bit of respect for his work with that seminal group, his solo career wasn’t exactly setting the word on fire and the fickle New York City art crowd that had previously hailed him a genius quickly cast him aside. The third part of the titular triangle? Iggy Pop, who after leaving The Stooges and embarking on a solo career, was regarded by many as a drug addicted junkie with little to offer outside of some shock value. The Stooges legacy wouldn’t really be appreciated for the ground breaking pre-punk madness that it was until later, and Iggy was wasn’t really going anywhere either.

    As fate would have it, the three musicians would wind up meeting at the late, great Max’s Kansas City (a venue known for art and punk shows that was actually in New York City despite what the name would have you believe) where they’d inevitably influence one another. Basically Bowie would borrow from Iggy and create Ziggy Stardust, Iggy would borrow from Reed and get a little more musically refined, and Reed would borrow from Bowie and find his musical footing and voice. Of course, all three would go on to bigger things, but had they not met in New York City… would that have happened?

    First things first – this documentary does not include interviews with David Bowie, Lou Reed or Iggy Pop. They appear in archival clips and photographs and their music is used throughout the film, but they aren’t actually interviewed here and don’t contribute any original material. This is definitely a strike against this release, but thankfully it doesn’t completely sink the ship. In fact, The Sacred Triangle turns out to be quite thoroughly researched and fairly interesting throughout.

    Those who do appear ‘live’ were either there, or were in close proximity to some of the key players who were involved in the scene. Look for input from David Bowie’s ex-wife Angela Bowie, New York City art scene staple Jayne County, Andy Warhol’s assistant Billy Name, Main Man Management vice president Leee Black Childers and a few others. The interviewees don’t quite get us into the heads of the three artists in question, but at least allow the film to piece together the who, what, where and when, if not always the why.

    As the story evolves and the three musicians’ lives would become more incestuous, Iggy would wind up dating Nico and pissing off Lou Reed, Bowie would borrow a little too much from the other parties, while Bowie would help out the other two once Ziggy thrust him into the spotlight (he worked on both Reed’s Transformer album and not only helped out on Iggy & The Stooges’ Raw Power but would later collaborate with him on The Idiot and Brick By Brick – the two would even appear together in 1977 on the Dinah! Show with a very confused looking Dinah Shore!).

    Ultimately, this isn’t the definitive statement on just what happened between the three musical legends. Without their involvement, it can’t be. It is, however, an interesting look back at some very influential players in the early seventies glam/rock/art scene whose influence would go on to be huge.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The Sacred Triangle is presented in its original 1.33.1 fullframe aspect ratio and it looks fine, if a bit soft throughout. The newly shot interview bits understandably look better than the archival clips used throughout the production, many of which are a bit rough around the edges. Overall though, things are okay. Colors look alright and if things are soft, well, they’re watchable enough. There aren’t any problems with mpeg compression artifacts or edge enhancement issues to complain about, though the image is interlaced.

    The English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track is about all it needs to be – the newly shot interview clips are clean and clear and most of the music used in the background is as well. Some of the archival clips from the era have got some audible hiss here and there to contend with, but that’s about it. Levels are well balanced, there aren’t any problems here. The track is fine, if not particularly powerful.

    Aside from a quick deleted interview clip with one of the participants involved in the production regarding Nico’s brief involvement here, the disc doesn’t really have much to offer in terms of supplements.

    The Final Word:

    If you’ve got an interest in the material , this will be up your alley. It obviously would have been nice to get some interviews with Bowie, Pop or Reed in place of people who just kind of happened to be around when all of this was going down, but at least the documentary does a pretty decent job of fleshing out this period in music history and explaining not only why it mattered at the time but how it would have a fair bit of influence on what would come later.