Portrait of an artist as a young man. Roughly chronological, using archival footage intercut with recent interviews, a story takes shape of Bob Dylan's (b. 1941) coming of age from 1961 to 1966 as a singer, songwriter, performer, and star. He takes from others: singing styles, chord changes, and rare records. He keeps moving: on stage, around New York City and on tour, from Suze Rotolo to Joan Baez and on, from songs of topical witness to songs of raucous independence, from folk to rock. He drops the past. He refuses, usually with humor and charm, to be simplified, classified, categorized, or finalized: always becoming, we see a shapeshifter on a journey with no direction home. Written by
In this 3.5 hour documentary I learned more about Bob Dylan and the atmosphere around his music than I ever thought I would. The setting starts in his home town, moves to the Village in New York and then into history around the world. Bob Dylan's comments are interspersed throughout as he remembers and describes all the influences in his music and life. All my assumptions about Mr. Dylan were wrong and now I have renewed respect for him. I always liked his music but now I am seeing it in a new light. Throughout the movie Mr. Dylan just wanted to make music. Yet, the musical press kept categorizing and labeling him. The most humorous part was during the press conferences when Bob Dylan kept being peppered with questions about interpretations of his music that even surprised him. The movie ends right where it begins, with the music. Thanks to Mr. Scorsese and his associates for the great job they did.
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