In Nicolas Roeg's sci-fi tale based on the novel by Walter Tevis, a humanoid alien from a dried-up husk of a planet falls to Earth in a spaceship--and later falls again metaphorically through alcohol abuse and the manipulations of a hostile culture. Arriving as a secret ambassador from a dying world, the masquerading Mr. Newton (David Bowie) patents several basic devices, including a self-developing color film and music recordings in the shape of small silver balls, in order to amass the tremendous capital necessary to build a spaceship. Along the way he solicits the help of a crack patent lawyer (Buck Henry) and a country-fried small-town girl (Candy Clark) who introduces him to gin, which he soon begins to substitute for his customary glass of water. Newton debates the reality of returning to his dead world only to have the choice made for him when he is swept from the launchpad by government agents. After serving his time with men in black, he is released, blinded by x-rays, into the world. As a last drunken hurrah, he records an album under the name the Visitor with the hope that it may someday be broadcast and heard by his family and friends back home. Connected throughout by intercut clips of television programmes, classic movies, and film soundtracks, THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH is an fine example of the postmodern technique of work referring to its own medium and history. Like much 1970s sci-fi, it is heavily indebted to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY; a scene in which an upset tray of cookies is juxtaposed with flying bodies echoes the film's flying bone and spaceship. Juxtaposing the free love enjoyed by Dr. Bryce (Rip Torn) with post-Altamont, pre-Reagan paranoia, Roeg's film manages to be at once artistically groundbreaking and a crystallisation of the post-Summer of Love era.