“'I don’t know that it does make sense,' Cate Blanchett says of the film, 'and I don’t know whether Dylan’s music makes sense. It hits you in some kind of other place. It might make sense when you’re half-awake, half-asleep, in the everyday lives in which we live. I don’t think the film even strives to make sense, in a way.'"
“'It has an emotional truth to it, which is what I think modern art is about,' he [Richard Gere] says. 'It’s not about the narrative. In other words, without narrative, it’s kind of, well, cosmic.'"
Back in October 2007, I read those quotes regarding the movie, I'm Not There, in a New York Times Magazine article about director/writer Todd Haynes. By no means am I a Bob Dylan expert, but I am a fan of his songwriting, especially the early years. So, I finished reading that article and watched a trailer. On one hand, I was oh so curious to see the movie, but on the other hand, I wasn't convinced that I'm Not There could work. I'm pretty artsy and I love modern art, but every once in awhile modernity goes a little too far. For me, it really boils down to good art - modern, contemporary, prehistoric (love the cave paintings at Lascaux), Renaissance, what have you.
This week I finally sat down and watched I'm Not There, and honestly, I loved it. Yes, it was zany and quirky, and many scenes were disconnected, but what a creative biopic about Bob Dylan. All too often, I'm the kind of person who tries to understand everything. That rarely works in regards to my faith or in my enjoyment of art. During I'm Not There, it was fun to let my mind go, use my imagination, and soak in every bit of Bob Dylan-ness. All six actors did a great job, but for me, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale stood out. They happen to be two of my favorites, so I might be a little biased. However, is there anything Cate Blanchett cannot do? I think successfully portraying Bob Dylan is quite the accomplishment.
As for cinematography, some of my favorite sequences featured Richard Gere. His "Billy the Kid-Dylan" was "shot like a late-’60s, early-’70s Western ('Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid' or 'McCabe and Mrs. Miller')." In particular, the funeral scene struck me very Southern Gothic/Flannery O'Connor. I was already transfixed by that otherworldly town - I mean, a giraffe walked by and all - and then, that song.
Some guy opened his mouth and sang the most beautiful cover of Dylan's "Goin' to Acapulco." His unique tenor voice haunted me long after the film, so much so that I looked up the soundtrack info. today. I didn't purchase the whole album, but I did buy that song by Calexico & Jim James (My Morning Jacket) - that guy. I also selected another favorite Dylan cover from the movie - "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" by Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová (of Once fame).
A friend of mine is a My Morning Jacket fan, and I'm about to follow his lead. This description of the band in The New York Times caught my eye:
"At its most orthodox the band has sounded like a second coming of Crazy Horse; at its most abstract, an earthier, American Radiohead. The constant has been Mr. James’s voice, a plaintive, eerily expressive high tenor somewhere between Mr. Young and 'Lay Lady Lay'-period Bob Dylan."
A good film + great music is the perfect way to end a week. And since today is Sunday, it's just the beginning, too.
Posted by jenni at 2:12 PM