Where have all the naked people gone
Todd Haynes new film ‘I’m not there’ based on the immortal Bob Dylan
‘A poem is like a naked person’
‘Seven simple rules of going into hiding:
1. Never trust a cop in a raincoat.
2. Beware of enthusiasm and of love, both are temporary and quick to sway
3. If asked if you care about the worlds problems, look deep into the eyes of he who asks, he will never ask you again.
4. Never give your real name.
5. If ever asked to look at yourself, don’t.
6. Never do anything the person in front of you can’t understand.
7. Never create anything, it will be misinterpreted, it will chain you and follow you for the rest of your life.’
These are the bold utterances from Bob Dylan, the muse for Todd Haynes’s new movie, ‘I’m Not there’.
Dishevelled hair that would make a comb curl if it was ever to come close, fag jutting from his lips soon to be replaced by words bearing truths as translucent as his skin. His fingers tripping on guitar strings, his voice carried by the many people he grudgingly had grasping tight to his wails…he draws the occasional breath from his harmonica….This is Bob Dylan.
Director, Todd Haynes has produced a biographical peek at the ‘naked person’ and the human being of Bob Dylan in, ‘I’m Not Here’. In the film, it seems Haynes adopts Dylan’s anarchic techniques ridden in his poetry and song writing. Dylan’s character is cast by six different actors (one of them being Cate Blanchett performing an outstanding jittering, sneering, rude performance) and under the pseudonyms of six different names, representing the different stages of Dylan’s life and music. Not so subtle cinematic techniques (sound, mise en scene, editing) and surreal imagery attempts to capture the chaotic Dylan and Dylan’s favourite subject, an adolescent America. Like all adolescents, America at the time of Dylan (especially the turbulent 60’s) sought for a voice to express their angst of the funny curly hairs that were beginning to sprout in strange places on their body. Dylan had the guitar and the words which gave him the responsibility and further the ability to reach mass audiences with poetry. Enough to make T.S Eliot jealous. Songs like, ‘Blowin in the wind’ became anti-war and civil-rights anthems. While the world was listening to ‘pretty tunes’ from Beatles and the Stones, Dylan scraped the scum stuck to the sidewalks of America and slipped it in people’s dinner salads. Haynes creates an important juxtaposition between Dylan and the America of the time in the subject matter of the film to perhaps offer an understanding of what Dylan’s contribution to American music and culture actually was, (beside his harmonic voice) and it’s significance.
Published by British film magazine: Truth and Lies