Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm Not There

Not at all irksome New York Times film cricitic A.O. Scott thinks highly of the new Todd Haynes movie about Bob Dylan.

“Live in your own time.” That’s the advice young “Woody Guthrie” hears from a motherly woman who offers him a hot meal and a place to sleep. It’s sensible advice — he’s daydreaming of the Depression in the middle of the space age — but also useless. It’s not as if anyone has a choice. To slog through the present requires no particular wit, vision or art. But a certain kind of artist will comb through the old stuff that’s lying around — the tall tales and questionable memories, the yellowing photographs and scratched records — looking for glimpses of a possible future. Though there’s a lot of Bob Dylan’s music in “I’m Not There,” Mr. Haynes is not simply compiling golden oldies. You hear familiar songs, but what you see is the imagination unleashed — the chimes of freedom flashing.

Damn, Scott's good.

And speaking of the chimes of freedom -- I swear to god I actually chanced on this 1964 live clip of the "real" Dylan (which I had never seen, let alone suspected) mere minutes before I read the review.

It's not the best version of the song imaginable -- apparently Dylan hadn't quite made the acquaintance of the melody at this point -- but it's riveting in a way that seems relevant to the Haynes film in spades.


Anonymous said...

That's from the new Newport compilation DVD, which, btw, is highly recommended.

I haven't much to add, except that when it comes to sorting through, rearranging, from the past, no one is better than Bob.

As we saw with Modern Times (which I'm still not sure deserved all the praise heaped upon it), he's still at it--though he's not as masterful at disguising it as he once was.

Anonymous said...

This is the voice of his I still like the best ...