19 November 2007

I am not there and my very first traffic ticket.

A couple of months ago a friend sent this link to me. It was a scene from a yet to be released Bob Dylan biopic. I am not the biggest fan of Dylan's, I know he is quite the American icon and prior to him beating Sting to win the Oscar for best original song ('Things Have Changed' from Wonder Boys) in 2000 I had no opinions about him (after that win I hated him just a little bit). The first thing that caught my attention was the fact that the actor playing Dylan in the scene I saw was Cate Blanchett. Huh!? I must say she bore a striking resemblance to him and had I not been told before hand would have mistaken her for some male actor. I filed the clip away under 'interesting, try to see this when it opens' and promptly forgot about it. I recently discovered NPR and I am totally hooked. Wednesday last week Todd Haynes was on 'Fresh Air' talking about the movie and I learned not 1 but 6 different actors played Dylan representing 7 phases in his life. A quick call to my dear friend confirmed that she had received an invite to a screening for the movie in the upcoming weekend but she was unsure if she would be able to go see it. My fingers are crossed. Saturday rolls along and she rings me, yes she was available after all for the screening. Goody! I nearly missed seeing the movie, I lay down for a 30 min nap and woke up an hr and 45 mins before the screening was to begin, unwashed and an hr to an hr and a half away (depending on how LA traffic was faring). I made it on time though and found street parking (25 cents per hr). Halls on hand to help soothe my throat and reduce my coughing I settled down to enjoy the movie. It opened with mugshots (if you will) of the different Dylans, OMG! Christain Bale!!! I can love Christian Bale ehn ... please go see American Psycho if you haven't. I didn't know 2hrs 15 mins could fly by so quickly, I was hardly aware of the time, so intense were the performances of the actors, so complex the subject matter.

I was very impressed with Marcus Carl Franklin's performance, ( I am told he was really good in 'Lakawanna Blues', I must see that) he played a young Dylan named Woodie Guthrie (Woodie Guthrie was a huge inspiration for Dylan in his earlier years) who seemed keen, desperate even to escape who he was, indeed he was always on the move, on the run if you will. Having an african-american play Dylan set in a time when everyone understood the need to 'pass' was genius in my opinion. Christian Bale played both the activist and born-again Dylan with Julianne Moore playing Joan Baez (I think). The activist Dylan came across as heavily burdened, the born-again Dylan simple and free. Cate Blanchett played the Electric Dylan very convincingly (recall it was her performance that brought me here in the first place). Her physical embodiment of Dylan was so on point, it was quite eerie watching this thin ... thing with the thin face and mass of curly hair. I think it was quite clever to introduce a hint of androgyny to the electric Dylan, lord knows a lot of his fans didn't know exactly what to make of him 'going electric' and all. Michelle Williams played Coco Rivington (who I am thinking is Edie Sedgwick whom he dated in the period). Heath Ledger played the rock star Dylan endlessly touring and womanizing with Charlotte Gainsbourg playing his wife. Richard Gere played a Billy the Kid-esque Dylan with Bruce Greenwood once again playing 'the establishment' ( He played that role beautifully as the reporter interviewing the electric Dylan).

There was a Q&A session after the screening and Todd Haynes was on hand to answer questions. Apparently Marcus Carl franklin was the only actor do do his own singing (and apparently his own guitar playing as well), not bad. When asked Haynes did not know if Dylan had seen the movie although he did know he (Dylan) had a copy of it on dvd with him on tour. As a story teller himself, I am thinking Todd need not worry, Dylan would give it the thumbs up.

Warm from the glow of a Saturday evening well spent, I ambled over to my car with my friends to find - shock, horror, parking ticket! Apparently parking on that particular side street requires a residential permit after 6 pm :-( bloody wankers! On the other hand I really must learn to read those signs ...


ababoypart2 said...

Still not a Dylan fan (purely musical). That may change when I see this biographical film reflecting his life.

Ozymandias said...

Dylan's one of the best...atleast for me..too bad the evening ended with a parking ticket, but you did have fun all the same.