Portrait of the artist as a young man. In spring, 1965, Bob Dylan, 23, a pixyish troubador, spends three weeks in England. Pennebaker's camera follows him from airport to hall, from hotel room to public house, from conversation to concert. Joan Baez and Donovan, among others, are on hand. It's the period when Dylan is shifting from acoustic to electric, a transition that not all fans, including Baez, applaud. From the opening sequence of Dylan holding up words to the soundtrack's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," Dylan is playful and enigmatic. Written by
If you're a Bob Dylan fan, do yourself a favor and rent the DVD version of "Don't Look Back." It includes an optional audio track of commentary from director D.A. Pennebaker and Bob Neuwirth, Dylan's pal and "tour manager" who was along for the ride on the '65 tour of England this film documents. Their thoughts are interesting, often insightful, occasionally hilarious and shed some light on the movie's more esoteric moments. For example, I never realized the extended hotel room scene of Dylan playing the piano was Bob actually _writing_ a piece of music. You'll probably learn something even if you've read all the books (Benson, Heylin, etc.). Oh, and it turns out Albert Grossman _loves_ the way he's portrayed in the movie, according to Pennebaker. Plus there's a fun alternate version of the "Subterranean Homesick Blues" video (which, for the kids out there, was copied in the '80s by INXS for their "Mediate" video) that was shot in a park somewhere, in which Dylan has even less control of the cards than he does in the final cut. Ginsberg is in the background of this one, too.
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