Like a Bullet of Light: The Films of Bob Dylan

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9781900924061: Like a Bullet of Light: The Films of Bob Dylan
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Lee traces Dylan’s celluloid obsession from teenage adulation of James Dean through groundbreaking documentaries like Don’t Look Back and his enigmatic appearance in Peckinpah’s Pat Garratt and Billy The Kid, on to Dylan’s surreal dramatic directorial debut, Renaldo and Clara, and his starring role in mainstream Hollywood vehicle, Hearts of Fire. Lee also analyses Dylan’s major TV and video appearances.

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Gee, how many Bob Dylan films could there be? The obvious ones are Don't Look Back, one of the first and still one of the best rockumentaries; Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid , a Sam Peckinpah oater, of sorts; and Renaldo and Clara, which rivals Frank Zappa's 200 Motels as either an idiosyncratic exercise in inaccessibility or a masterwork of surpassing genius. Each gets its chapter from Lee, who also examines Dylan in visual media generally, noting his cameo roles, videos, and appearances at award shows. Gospel Bob can be pretty inaccessible in any medium, of course, making him a wonderful subject for critical analysis. He's unlikely to say or do anything forthright enough to deflate a critical construct, especially one as friendly as Lee's. In closing, Lee proclaims that Don't Look Back director D. A. Pennebaker's statement that Dylan intends to "make the longest film that's ever been made" is brilliant. Come again? Worth a look, anyway, especially for fans. Mike Tribby
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