Saturday, November 10, 2007

I'm Not There

Coming soon to a theater near you...

On November 21, the Bob Dylan biopic I'm Not There will see a limited release in the USA. The film is directed and co-written by Todd Haynes who uses a vignette-style of filming to tell 6 stories using 6 different actors portraying him. From reviews I've read, the film is not a literal, strightforward account of Dylan's life, but rather enigmatic musings and what-ifs -- much like the film's subject. The diverse and divergent stories told are portrayed by a diverse and distinct group of actors.

Talk about Another Side Of Bob Dylan.

Christian Bale, Marcus Carl Franklin, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw and Cate Blanchett all portray Dylan. The film has been shown to international film festival audiences including the Venice Film Festival where Cate Blanchett was awarded the Coppa Volpi for Best Actress.

A number of musicians contributed to the film's soundtrack, 33 covers of Dylan classics and rough-covered nuggets. Being a huge fan of Bob Dylan, I approach covers of his songs with a bit of trepidation. Will the artist stick close to the original? Will they try to give it their own interpretation? Will I like it? Will I hate it? Bob himself likes to change and update the sound of his classics when he plays them live and I can appreciate an artist who attempts to put their own touch on one of Dylan's songs. But there's a certain reverence which must be observed.

Pouring over the film's soundtrack, I am happy to report some very nice finds. Overall, the two discs have their hits and misses, but I'll just share some of my favorites. In particular: I LOVE Antony's cover of "Knockin' On Heaven's Door", Sufjan Stevens recasts "Ring Them Bells" in his own quirky and beautiful style, Richie Havens' own inimitable style shines on "Tombstone Blues" and the man who was once Bob Dylan's own inspiration, the legendary Ramblin' Jack Elliott shows us how it's done on "Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues".

Goin' To Acapulco - Jim James and Calexico

Tombstone Blues - Richie Havens

Man In The Long Black Coat - Mark Lanegan

Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power) - Willie Nelson and Calexico

Ring Them Bells - Sufjan Stevens

Mama, You've Been On My Mind - Jack Johnson

You Ain't Goin' Nowhere - Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova

Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window? - The Hold Steady

Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues - Ramblin' Jack Elliott

Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Antony and The Johnsons

I'm Not There - Bob Dylan (unreleased song from the Basement Tapes sessions)

1 comment:

DetroitUSA said...

Hi Carl,

I thought Martin Scorsese was involved with this movie. I must have gotten this confused with No Direction Home. I've been trying to find a copy of this video somewhere.

I'm looking forward to Martin Scorsese's Rolling Stone Rockumentary Shine A Light due out April 4, 2008.

- John