Thursday, November 22, 2007

Not There and the Light Swallow

We shut down our office early Wednesday, and I managed to go see a matinee of I'm Not There. I'm fighting the urge to go see it a couple more times even though I came away not learning one new thing about Dylan or the times of his greatest work. I'd worried about it not living up to the hype or being humorless. There are some hilarious moments, such as the Cate Blanchett Dylan calling Keith Richards a guy in that great covers band. And the hoopla about the brilliance of Blanchett's Dylan is not over-stated. To me, it's her scenes that get to the core of the story, about why Dylan is still relevant, about why his contention that he is "just a song and dance man" was never said with irony. He was an act, albeit not one with Rockettes or laser shows. Building it all around possibly my favorite Dylan tune, Ballad of the Thin Man, Haynes managed to hit on why our relationship with "stars" or prophets so enthralls us and is also a complete charade. But, at the same time, we need a few charades in our lives to keep certain muscles in shape.

Blanchett battles with a journalist's attempts to project his perceptions onto him/her, it hit on every aspect of what's annoyed me about unpleasant human relationships in my own life. Too often they have existed in a tiny pool of joint delusion of who the other person is while we retreat into ourselves to allow anger about the other person fester. Sometimes that produces great art, other times it produces madness, depression or suicide.

I also loved that it focused so much on how we can project so much of ourselves on a past we did not live -- as Dylan did with Woody Guthrie and his namesake and Haynes does with Dylan's youth. On top of that, seeing an elderly Richie Havens, whose voice I remember touching me deeply as a child, had great resonance.

It was also fun to be at a movie the day it opened, especially one with so much buzz. Oddly, at the 3:15 matinee, there were maybe three dozen people in the theater. I was one of five under 65.

I followed the film with Puccini's La Rondine with A____ who has tickets as part of the Rainbow Series. A____ and his cohorts insisted that I need to get Rainbow Series since its a chance for me to meet my soul mate. I recoil at that thought but would like to see more Puccini live. La Rondine is definitely a minor but pleasant part of the Puccini catalog. Although I knew Canzone di Doretta and Ore dolci e divine, I'd never heard the entire score or seen it live. A____ and I agreed that it was all very pleasant but more memorable for sets and background action. I mainly remember the maid and a chorus member who stood in an apron smoking a cigarette during the second act scene set in Bulliers. The Belle Epoque vibe was a nice retreat back to the sensibility of L'Eixample, but as A__ and I both said, not operatic enough.

I was humming Going to Acapulco on the BART as I headed home.

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At 4:50 PM, Blogger kimy said...

okay I'm calling the cleveland cinemas (the 'group' that runs the more indy theaters in the city) to ask when "I'm not there' is coming to a theatre near me! cate playing dylan is just too much of an attraction! thanks for the review.


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