Tuesday, October 09, 2007

This is not a pipe

This is not a Bob Dylan movie, either.

Bob Dylan Approximately Top row, from left, Marcus Carl Franklin, Cate Blanchett and Ben Whishaw; bottom, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger and Richard Gere.

The New York Times Magazine has a long but interesting article on the latest film by American auteur Todd Haynes (who is strangely absent from Wikipedia's list of auteurs). Called I'm Not There after a song available only as a bootleg, it stars six actors of different ages, races, and sexes.
...Todd Haynes’s Dylan film isn’t about Dylan. ... Haynes was trying to make a Dylan film that is, instead, what Dylan is all about, as he sees it, which is changing, transforming, killing off one Dylan and moving to the next, shedding his artistic skin to stay alive. The twist is that to not be about Dylan can also be said to be true to the subject Dylan.
Haynes's reference points include Rimbaud, Fellini's , Fassbinder, Billy the Kid, and Godard as well as the more obvious Woody Guthrie.
This idea of changing identity is also where Haynes hooked into the idea of a Dylan film, one that would not even feature the words Bob or Dylan. It wasn’t just the music that got Haynes, though he was loving it. “I just found this refusal to be fixed as a single self in a single voice as a key to his freedom,” Haynes told me. “And he somehow escaped this process of being frozen into one fixed person.”
The treachery of identity, one might call it...

René Magritte, The Treachery Of Images

Coincidentally, another American director named Todd who is approximately the same age as Haynes and who is on the list of auteurs (Todd Solondz) made a very different film called Palindromes (which nobody saw) that cast eight actors of different ages, races, and sexes as the 13-year-old female protagonist.

Cambridge Encyclopaedia Of Astronomy, Fig. 6.7: Successive pulses from the first pulsar discovered, CP 1919, are here superimposed vertically. The pulses occur every 1.337 seconds. They are caused by a rapidly spinning neutron star.

A more straightforward biopic about a very different musician (Control, about the late Ian Curtis of Joy Division) has opened in UK theaters to very good reviews. Curtis, who suffered from epilepsy and depression, tragically killed himself at the age of 23.

She's Lost Control (1979/1980)

. . .

And she turned around and took me by the hand
And said I've lost control again.
And how I'll never know just why or understand
She said I've lost control again.
And she screamed out kicking on her side
And said I've lost control again.
And seized up on the floor, I thought she'd die.
She said I've lost control.
She's lost control again.
She's lost control.
She's lost control again.
She's lost control.

--Joy Division

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At October 30, 2007 7:28 PM, Blogger rachel said...

wow, i just saw control, and just discovered this magritte painting and the phrase 'ceci...' today and all its cultural significance, and i'm soo curious about the dylan film, and here they are in one blog post. beautiful!

At October 30, 2007 8:42 PM, Blogger The Neurocritic said...

Thanks! I'm glad you appreciated the connections.


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