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
The black cylindrical case that Allen Ginsberg was resting his hand upon during his interview was a Manfrotto camera tripod case the crew brought along with them for the interview. See more »
Footage of the San Francisco Bay Bridge is included among footage of New York City illustrating Bob Dylan's arrival there. See more »
There is a very famous saying among Tibetan Buddhists: "If the student is not better than the teacher, then the teacher is a failure."
It's sort of a biblical prophecy.
Poetry is words that are empowered to make your hair stand on end, that you realize instantly as being some form of subjective truth that has an objective reality to it, because somebody has realized it. Then you call it poetry later.
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I felt thoroughly happy while watching No Direction Home on BBC 2 over the past two evenings - lots of video and audio footing I had never heard or seen before and precious insights into the workings of Dylan's poetic mind.
I have been following Dylan for over 40 years now and have always been a fan, except during his Christian period. I found it illuminating to learn that, when Joan Baez had just delivered to him a deep-going analysis of one of his songs, Dylan said he was curious to see what other reviewers would make of it. Himself he didn't know what the hell it all meant. He just wrote beautiful texts without worrying too much if all the combined lines would make coherent sense.
Dylan uses words like an impressionist painter uses paint. Those paintings can confer a sense of beauty without necessarily offering a clear idea of what is actually presented. Dylan's songs are collections of beautiful phrases and words. Don't ask him to explain the meaning of existence to us. Just enjoy his unique songs and magical voice. In his own words, he is "just a song and dance man". And a sublime one at that!
Profound thanks to Scorsese for making this picture. A 10 out of 10. (And thanks to Philconcannon for his excellent review.)
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