Dylan documentary gives insight to singer’s life

By Michelle Moran
September 30, 2005

American legend Bob Dylan has a career that only musicians can dream of that spans across decades and somehow always continues to stand out with his unique style among popular music trends and artists. The 64-year-old’s career and musical style is brilliantly pieced together in “Bob Dylan: No Direction Home” by renowned director Martin Scorsese.

The documentary was released on DVD to eagerly awaiting Dylan fans Aug. 20, followed by movie screenings that week in select cities such as Philadelphia and Bryn Mawr, where a free screening was held at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute on Lancaster Avenue. To also mark the release of the documentary, it was shown on PBS on Monday, Aug. 26 at 9:00 p.m., which revealed the first half of the documentary, followed by the remaining half on the following night.

“No Direction Home” is the first feature length film biography of Bob Dylan, and is also the first time that he has agreed to do a full interview in over 20 years.

Although a musical documentary seems atypical for Scorsese, he actually has experience in rock documentaries. He directed the “Last Waltz” in 1978 that documented The Band, and he also served as an assistant director on Woodstock in 1970.

The documentary shows how Dylan revived the folk era, while combining it with touches of the blues, country and rock and Roll. Dylan, who was actually born Robert Zimmerman, grew up in the blue-collar town of Hibbing, Minn. and then ended up in Greenwich Village, N.Y., where he stayed for quite a while performing at coffeehouses with fellow folk and blues musicians. Dylan said, “I was born very far from where I’m supposed to be and so I’m on my way home.”

Dylan’s life is thoroughly illustrated through photos, rare video footage and various interviews of Dylan and his family, friends and fellow musicians.

The turning point in Dylan’s career was when he signed with Columbia Records in 1962. From there, the rest is history. Dylan went on to record such famous songs as “Hurricane,” “All Along The Watchtower,” “Knocking on Heaven’s Door” and “Mr. Tambourine Man.” His songs had emotions and perspectives that were so powerful that the listener couldn’t help but make their own translation of it and inspire or empower them in some way. Scorsese highlights his lyrics by showing live performances of Dylan with just a guitar, a harmonica and his prevailing voice.

Loquitur welcomes your comments on this story. Please send your comments to: Loquitur@yahoogroups.com. The editors will review your points each week and make corrections if warranted.

Posted to the web by Tim Hague

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Michelle Moran

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