After the excruciating semiotics lecture of I’m Not There, a straight-up concert doc featuring the real Bob Dylan—with special appearances by Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Peter, Paul and Mary, Pete Seeger, the Freedom Singers, and Peter Yarrow—is a necessary palate cleanser. The Felliniesque folly of Haynes’s brainy pastiche attempts to demystify Dylan while Murray Lerner’s The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live at the Newport Folk Festival, 1963 - 1965 keeps the mystery burning, beginning with an unfussy précis of the man’s eminence as the voice of a generation before offering immaculate performances of such anthems as “North Country Blues,” “With God on Our Side,” “Talkin’ World War III Blues,” and “Mr. Tambourine Man” as evidence both corroborative and expansive. The idolatry of the notoriously withdrawn Dylan is not the subject of the film, though the joy that washes over the faces of his fans is an indication of how his lyrics gave expression to more than just his own generation’s sense of unrest and disaffection. Haynes could learn from Lerner, whose coup is photographing Dylan with the same informal quality as the singer-songwriter’s ingenious arsenal of words.
- 80 min
- Murray Lerner
- Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Peter, Paul, Mary, Pete Seeger, Freedom Singers, Peter Yarrow
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