Monday, February 11, 2008

Review of I'm Not There

For those of you who can read Danish, I have a long review of Todd Haynes' 'Dylan'-film I'm Not There at Kulturkapellet. Check it out, if you like Dylan, or postmodern meta-film, or both...

For those of you who don't read Danish, here is a clip from the film, depicting the hilarious first meeting between Cate Blanchett's Dylan character (Jude Quinn - one of the six 'Dylans' in the film) and Davis Cross' Allen Ginsberg, who pulls up alongside Quinn's limo in a weird golf cart-like vehicle driven by the actor who plays Peter Orlofsky, Ginsberg's long time lover...

Another great moment in the film occurs when 'another' 'Dylan', Arthur Rimbaud (played by Ben Whishaw) gives his simple rules for a life as "a complete unknown" as one real Dylan put it in "Like a Rolling Stone":

Seven simple rules for a life in hiding:
One, never trust a cop in a raincoat.
Two, beware of enthusiasm and of love, each is temporary and quick to sway.
Three, if asked if you care about the world's problems, look deep into the eyes of he who asks, he will not ask you again.
Number four and five, never give your real name, and if ever told to look at yourself, ever look.
Six, never say or do anything which the person standing in front of you cannot understand.
And seven, never create anything. It will be misinterpreted. It will chain you and follow you for the rest of your life, and it will never change

Rimbaud's tenets - which he himself tried in vain to follow, giving up writing at the tender age of 21 - illustrate every artist's dilemma with creation and audience. They also marvellously illustrate Rimbaud's famous claim: "Je est un autre" ("(The) I is another"). The artist committing acts of autobiography is always suspect, always an outlaw, always an other to oneself. An insight both Dylan and Todd Haynes seem to subscribe to, but also an insight which turns out to provide no valid defense when the desire to create becomes too overwhelming and must be obeyed...

4 free songs from the film are on offer from the movie's MySpace site. Jim James' "Goin to Acapulco" - performed by him in the film wearing whiteface a la Rolling Thunder Revue-era Dylan, set in the carnevalesque town of Riddle where it's Halloween all year round - is a stand-out. Jeff Tweedy, Cat Power and Sufjan Stevens all do credible work on their cover versions too...