IMDb > Patti Smith: Dream of Life (2008)
Patti Smith: Dream of Life
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Patti Smith: Dream of Life (2008) More at IMDbPro »

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Release Date:
6 August 2008 (USA) See more »
An intimate portrait of poet, painter, musician and singer Patti Smith that mirrors the essence of the artist herself. | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
A woman quietly at the center of her times See more (11 total) »


  (in credits order) (complete, awaiting verification)

Patti Smith ... Herself: vocals and clarinet
Lenny Kaye ... Himself: guitar
Oliver Ray ... Himself: guitar
Tony Shanahan ... Himself: bass and vocals
Jay Dee Daugherty ... Himself: drums
Jackson Smith ... Himself
Jesse Smith ... Himself
Tom Verlaine ... Himself

Sam Shepard ... Himself

Philip Glass ... Himself
Benjamin Smoke ... Himself

Flea ... Himself
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Bob Dylan ... Himself (uncredited)

Michael Stipe ... Himself (uncredited)

Directed by
Steven Sebring 
Produced by
Sonoko Aoyagi Leopold .... line producer
Kristin Lovejoy .... supervising producer
Steven Sebring .... executive producer
Steven Sebring .... producer
Margaret Smilow .... executive producer
Margaret Smilow .... producer
Junko Tsunashima .... supervising producer
Scott Vogel .... producer
Original Music by
Hans Engstrom 
Cinematography by
Phillip Hunt (director of photography)
Steven Sebring (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Angelo Corrao 
Lin Polito 
Production Management
Andrew Reichsman .... production manager: London 'Horses' Concert (as Andy Reichsman)
Art Department
Alex Wiederin .... package art direction and design
Sound Department
Jorgen Axelvall .... additional sound
Angelo Corrao .... sound editor
Margaret Crimmins .... sound designer
Tim Fraser .... sound: London 'Horses' Consert
Charlie McGovern .... additional sound
Lin Polito .... sound editor
Anna Rieke .... additional sound
Steven Sebring .... sound recordist
Greg Smith .... sound designer: Dog Bark Sound
Tony Volante .... sound re-recording mixer: Sound Lounge
Anna Ehl .... assistant sound recordist engineer (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
Jennifer Basnyat .... digital effects: MoltenLave Film Design
Camera and Electrical Department
Jorgen Axelvall .... camera assistant
Mia Barker .... additional assistant camera
Chris Bierlein .... additional assistant camera
Richard Lawson .... assistant camera: London 'Horses' Concert
James Lewis .... clapper loader: London 'Horses' Concert
Toshiaki Ozawa .... camera: London 'Horses' Concert (as Tpshi Ozawa)
John Pirozzi .... camera: London 'Horses' Concert
David Raedeker .... assistant camera: London 'Horses' Concert
Oliver Ray .... additional camera work
Steven Sebring .... camera: London 'Horses' Concert
Patti Smith .... additional camera work
Phoebe Sudrow .... assistant camera: London 'Horses' Concert
Editorial Department
Jennifer Basnyat .... digital conformist: Scratch
Laura Congleton .... assistant editor (as Laura H. Congleton)
Danny DeVincent .... digital intermediate colorist: Cineric (as Daniel Devincent)
Russell Greene .... assistant editor
Donald Klocek .... assistant editor
Noëlle Penraat .... negative matcher (as Noelle Penraat)
Jack Rizzo .... digital scanning and recording: Metropolis Film Lab
Music Department
John Adams .... music services
Emily Lee .... music services
Greg Smith .... composer: additional music
Other crew
Jennifer Basnyat .... title designer: MoltenLava Film Design
Jane Buckwalter .... project management
Andrew Burns .... road crew
Val Campbell .... location coordinator: London 'Horses' Concert
Bejou Baile De Laperriere .... assistant: director
Barre Duryea .... tour manager
Ran Geffen .... production assistant: London 'Horses' Concert
James Gray .... production assistant: London 'Horses' Concert
Aaron Kanter .... business affairs
Martin Le Maire .... road crew
Annie Leibovitz .... archival footage courtesy of
Dan Lilienfeld .... road crew
Gerard Malanga .... archival footage courtesy of
Jonas Mekas .... archival footage courtesy of
Amos Poe .... archival footage courtesy of
Hans Richter .... archival footage courtesy of
Ranfi Rivera .... business affairs
Rocky Roberts .... road crew
Shoshana Sebring .... creative consultant
Michael Stipe .... archival footage courtesy of
Tom Tyler .... production assistant: London 'Horses' Concert
Yuek Wong .... road crew
Travis Call .... thanks
Alex Halpern .... special thanks
Benn Northover .... thanks
Michael Stipe .... personal thanks

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
109 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.66 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

The film was created over 11 years.See more »
Patti Smith:It's really funny when people ask you about that - How does it feel to be a rock icon? When they say that, I always think of Mt. Rushmore.See more »
Movie Connections:
References Dont Look Back (1967)See more »
WingSee more »


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14 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
A woman quietly at the center of her times, 14 September 2008
Author: Chris Knipp from Berkeley, California

Thin, long-faced, androgynous, stringy-haired, dressed in skinny pants, coat, dangling tie, she is unmistakable, made famous by her own achievements as poet, painter, singer, musician, and activist and her close friend the late Robert Maplethorpe's iconic photo-portraits. Her music is and was a distinctive fusion of punk rock and spoken poetry. This film, created with an art installation and photography book, is the product of her 12-year collaboration with director Steven Sebring, and it is dominated by her own voice and vision, her sense of poetry, her wry warmth, elegance, and taste. She's a sweet, kind person, as we see her, who's suffered and been redeemed by significant personal loss. She particularly describes how the unexpected death of her younger brother has given her a larger, warmer heart, because it has been filled with him. The value of Smith's kinship with Blake and Rimbaud sinks in as she depicts herself in an ongoing cloud of quiet words. This is a public figure who emerges as a deeply authentic private person.

The film, mostly in evocative and beautiful but not arty black and white, cunningly but not logically edited, is meandering, equally strong in its depiction of personal talismanic objects and treasured people, but despite beginning with Smith's recitation of a series of personal milestones and dates, it's deliberately vague about denoting times and places--reminding one of the famous passage from Henry Green's 'Pack My Bag' that goes: "Prose is not to be read aloud but to oneself alone at night... it should be a long intimacy between strangers... it should slowly appeal to feelings unexpressed, it should in the end draw tears out of the stone." Smith and Sebring seem to know that to speak to us as poetry, her life need not be hung on a list of names and dates.

Dream of Life then is a film appealing to the open-minded and indulgent, unlikely to win over outsiders or skeptics. Despite its many beauties, it's rather a pity it can't serve as a more informative introduction to the woman and her work. Since she believes in reserve, but also in ruthless candor, Smith reveals that she has always had to get other people to tune her guitar. Sam Shepherd, whom she first met as a drummer, finds her playing ragged when they play a rather superfluous impromptu duet. She seems important as a poetic voice, not a musician or singer. This film, singing its own song, not cajoling, is full of the palimpsest pleasures of a layered life and likely to reward repeated viewings.

Patti Smith seems most convincing to this respectful non-devotee as a figure, an "icon," who was central to her times, friend of William Burroughs and Allan Ginzberg and Gregory Corso as well as Maplethorpe, a cult figure who has toured with Bob Dylan, a bereaved wife and mother who has taken long sabbaticals from her public career to immerse herself in living, a woman with dear siblings and sweet parents from a happy childhood. A woman whose son and daughter are hard to tell apart from her, who pays tender homage on screen to the tombs of Blake and Rimbeau with caressing hands on the marble and use of her ever-present Polaroid camera. From seemingly humble south Jersey origins, she grew up loving books and worshiping at the font of poets like Shelley and Whitman.

After her remarkable relationship with Maplethorpe she went to live in Michigan with her husband Fred "Sonic" Smith, then when he died returned to poetry and music and activism in New York in 1994. As Andrew O'Hehir points out in his Salon review, she "is perhaps the only major surviving link from the beat era to the '70s Manhattan art scene to the birth of punk to the present." She has evidently done this through her own special calm and integrity and keen instinct.

Now 61, living in the Chelsea Hotel, still vibrant and active and herself, she is most impressive in a passionate, deeply angry reading of the American Declaration of Independence, which merges into a ferocious indictment of George W. Bush, the most succinct yet complete and powerful one I have ever heard. A truly amazing and astonishingly winning lady. Her influences has been enormous, and her words are often wise. "In art and dream may you proceed with abandon. In life may you proceed with balance and stealth." Famously, from her first album, the opening words: "Jesus died for somebody's sins, but not mine. . .My sins my own/They belong to me...."

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