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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
Several scenes in "Don't Look Back" were parodied, shot for shot, in Tim Robbins' film "Bob Roberts". These include the "Wife of the Sheriff of Nottingham" scene, and the segment in which Joan Baez is singing "Percy's Song" while Dylan composes on a typewriter in the background. In "Bob Roberts", Tim Robbin's is updating his investment portfolio on his computer while his lover sings about "Marching For Ourselves". Other unmistakable references include the "Subterranean Homesick Blues" parody and the motorcycle "accident". See more »
Before it became necessary to narrate documentaries (with rare exceptions, a sign that they truly SUCK) this one was dialogue-free. It was a floating camera that followed Bob going from venue to auditorium, from speaking to reporters to meeting ...Donovan.
Right from the start you can tell Dylan is sick of being on tour, either that ir he's sick of people(note how he rolls his eyes in the very beginning when he explains to a woman why he's carrying a lightbulb) so we become accustomed to the way he answers questions; sometimes rude but always originally, many times hilariously. He was afterall, still a very young guy in a foreign country. It didn't matter how he spoke with people, though, because he communicated enough-as we can see in Don't Look Back through his music.
When you watch him play, it's amazing to see the stillness in the audience, the entranced eyes, fixed in concentration, minds in fear that they may miss a word of one of Dylan's songs. I love how, right at the beginning when he gets asked "When did you know you wanted to become a performer?" and he seems to think for a minute...and it cuts to: Dylan about 6-8 years prior..playing in a field surrounded by a bunch of African Americans...seemingly singing about (an)African-American...and when the camera pans close to his face, you can see tears rolling down his cheeks! It made me cry...........
The good thing about it is you see a little bit of everything...Dylan on stage in his element, Dylan f*ked up;), w/his pals, p***ed off, and Englanders...
We also get to see a very young Joan Baez( whose voice I had never even heard before watching this)- an innocent, beautiful woman who despite this had morals and a voice that would also be heard....like Dylan she was way ahead of her time.
In short, I cannot say enough about this documentary-it gets better everytime I see it, and I don't say that about a lot. I still cannot hear enough of his music or his lyrics...
Long live Dylan and Baez... -Heidi
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