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The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival (2007)

An unvarnished chronicle of Bob Dylan's metamorphosis from folk to rock musician via appearances at the Newport Folk Festival between 1963 and 1965.

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An unvarnished chronicle of Bob Dylan's metamorphosis from folk to rock musician via appearances at the Newport Folk Festival between 1963 and 1965.

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7 December 2007 (USA)  »

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The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965  »

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High quality across the board
17 February 2008 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Featuring previously unseen footage, Murray Lerner's film is footage of performances by Bob Dylan at the Newport Folk Kestival but it also charts the change in his status in the years covered by the film. I think that those with a greater understanding of the man's career than I do will appreciate seeing this time period represented by a series of performances but even for the casual Dylan listener such as myself this is a very worthwhile film.

Despite including such people as Joni Mitchell and Johnny Cash, this film is almost entirely Dylan performing live and it is effortlessly enjoyable and rewarding to get such access, particularly since I was not even born at that time. The footage is really good throughout even though for many of the performances it is just one or two static cameras focusing on Dylan from the front or side. At other times though the camera moves round crowded stages or gets good audience shots and it is all edited together really well. I'm not sure if I have any reason to be, but I was quite surprised by the high quality of the film and the sound – the black & white footage is crisp and sharp and the sound is as clear as standing next to him.

The performances are as good as recorded and I think even those who only have the "best of" in their collection will enjoy it, but there is more than just the music. My favourite parts involve interacting with the audience or the powerless frustration of the MC trying to calm a crowd chanting "we want more", while the moment Dylan appeals to the audience to throw up a harmonica as he is lacking his own, then proceeds to play it like it was part of him was to me just all the more justification of his "man of the people" personae.

Overall then a very enjoyable collection of live performances that are not only good because of the quality of Dylan but also because of the high quality of the black & white film stock and the sound.


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