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Still from a Don’t Look Back outtake reel, DA Pennebaker
Still from a Don’t Look Back outtake reelcourtesy of YouTube/criterioncollection

The cult music documentary maker D.A. Pennebaker has died

The director, who was 94, made landmark music films with David Bowie and Bob Dylan

D.A. Pennebaker, the director of iconic music documentaries with Bob Dylan and Bowie, among others, died aged 94 on Thursday night, of natural causes. Pennebaker has been described as the foremost chronicler of 60s counter-culture and a pioneer of the cinéma vérité (or “fly on the wall”) aesthetic.

Probably the most notable works by the director are Don’t Look Back (1967) – which saw him bump elbows (quite literally) with Dylan and Allen Ginsberg while capturing the former’s 1966 UK tour – 1968’s flower power-infused Monterey Pop, and the film of David Bowie’s final Ziggy Stardust concert in 1973.

Other bands and musicians Pennebaker worked with range from Depeche Mode to Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry.

The War Room, Pennebaker’s documentary on Bill Clinton's campaign for President of the United States during the 1992 presidential election – made alongside his frequent collaborator, and later wife, Chris Hegedus – was nominated for an Oscar. He received a Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 2013.