Black and white footage of performances, interviews, and conversations at the Newport Folk Festival, from 1963 to 1966. The headliners are Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, and ... See full summary »
The July 3rd, 1973 historic concert of the 'leper Messiah'. This was to be David Bowie's last concert with the Ziggy persona and the Spiders from Mars. A great medley of 'Wild Eyed Boy From... See full summary »
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
Contrary to popular belief, the title is not a reference to the lyric "She's an artist, she don't look back" from the song "She Belongs to Me". Pennebaker stated that he hoped Dylan knew he wouldn't do that. See more »
History only matters to the living at least, and among them to those who can consume the packages we devise to understand what happened.
Sometimes I really do believe it requires elite skills, a term used by people without the training and discipline. But most of the time, its just about cultural wrappers, and this is such a case. I can imagine a young person, say a 25 year old, watching this and wondering what the big deal was. Why is this pretentious gnome at all interesting?
I think you had to be there, which is another way of saying that you had to be culturally tuned to accept the possibility of major change. For whatever reason, we were, from say 65 to 70, a hundred million in the US and countless others elsewhere. And where we invested our hopes was in these artifacts of the popular culture. In films, yes, but more so in the music. It was religious, with the artists serving more as receptacles for what we sent them than as creative geniuses. Well, yes they were that too, but we have many of those today but miss this huge investment.
When Dylan made records from about this period on, each of them (until, say he was lost to Jesus) each of them anticipated where the poetry we were imagining was going. It was open, liquid, sexually ideal. Powerful stuff, because we felt power. Collective because we did most things collectively then, not just purchasing as now.
This little film is so imperfect that its embarrassing that it is all we have to cling to. It just happens to be rare.
It has three parts. One is some stage performances. These aren't interesting at all, in large part because he had already changed but hadn't told us. This same period is covered by Martin Scorcese's rather precious "No Direction Home: Bob Dylan," which at least tells a story for those who weren't there.
It also hangs around in hotel rooms, interviews and backstage and hears Dylan rattle on. Its embarrassing this, because we still have this notion that great art comes from great men and women and that they know what they are doing. He's basically a twit that we chose, and we see it here. The only really interesting element of this is a glimpse of Sally Grossman. You'll know her from the cover of "Bringing It All Back Home." She's an important woman in the transformation of our poet. She's perhaps the key, a mystery, a poetical story we still can fill after all these years, because it still carries things we accept. If not power and change and better futures, honest politicians and ideal government, enlightenment, at least love from a wise woman who transforms a willing soul.
A third part of this really is great and is something you really should see. Dylan's first electric song was "Subterranean Homesick Blues," originally inspired by Alice in Wonderland meets a Guthrey "dream" song, but loaded and transformed with the sort of open images that would characterize his best work. He hadn't started performing it in shows yet. Alan Ginsberg decided to make a text a residue in words of the song, introducing puns and annotations of the already open lyrics. These were put on large sheets. Then, while the camera and record were rolling, Dylan flipped through them as the lines appeared, Ginsberg in the background.
Its wonderful, a film of a poem of a song of a life of an imagined future revisited from that future.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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