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No Direction Home part one of Martin Scorsese's documentary about Bob Dylan Sept. 05

From: Old Man
Category: TV
Date: 26 September 2005


The much advertised and awaited Bob Dylan documentary has just arrived, this two part, four hour long documentary had the makings of something great. Directed by Martin Scorsese, whose short film about shaving (The Big Shave) was excruciating and excellent, one would think that this would be an epic- Bob Dylan has to be one of the greatest artist of the past centuries, and certainly lived through and represented a hugely influential time (people are still aspiring to the life of the Beat generation). Forcing my self to sit through the part one turned out to be quite a challenge. In the style of many celebrity celebration bio-docs I endured two hours of old farts’ ‘When I first heard Bob….’, with the occasional bitter old friend laying claim to stolen chords, when I really wanted to hear the great man him self. In fact the greatness is some what belittled by the long list of musicians he ‘stole’ from (this comes as no surprise to none, but the laying out of it in this way slowly makes one feel that may be he aint so clever after all; I liked this and saw it as credit to the film, as well as Bob him self whose music one feels is almost inevitable – like books, and art that can be exhilarating because of the feeling that it is familiar, or ‘right’ (a difficult one for me, being brought up on Dylan). So he says what we want to say but can’t. But really I would have really liked to have seen Bob Dylan as a twenty year old doing his first film – the clip we were shown was about as long as the clip that the trailers showed – or more of his performances than the few which again we had mostly been shown as appetisers during the past few weeks. Like reality TV shows, we must be told what we are going to be told, be told what we are told and then be told what we have been told. I wonder if they do that in school.

Bob Dylan today is an old man with a face like a lizard that is lit from one side, this half a face talks from the corner of the black screen (he is wearing black as well). His old friends are men with beards, who sit on sofas, pubs, old offices, and on trains where we can see their faces clearly and their clothes and hands and feet as well. Well at least he remains intriguing. Joan Baez has a beautiful voice, and it was nice to see her singing with Dylan. The documentary was worthy of a minor comedian or musician, and could have filled a half an hour time slot with commercial breaks. I feel my beard pushing through.

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