Saturday, December 22, 2007


(1-1/2 hour "contour" drawing, 4:20 to 5:50 a.m., using a fairly recent photo of Bob Dylan, drawn using the Appleworks6 "Painting" program on an iBookG4, while listening to the soundtrack for "I'm Not There", downloaded from iTunes at the end of October.)

Yesterday I went downtown, somewhat apprehensively, to see Todd Hayne's film, "I'm Not There" at The Pickford. There was a sign on the ticket window with an apology. The film hadn't arrived in time for the 12:50 showing. I drove downtown again for the 3:40 show, where there were plenty of empty seats.

I was surprised at the level at which I was "moved" by what is certainly a peculiar and challenging movie. As I am writing this and listening to the soundtrack from "I'm Not There," Marcus Carl Franklin starts singing "When The Ship Comes In":

". . . A song will lift
As the mainsail shifts
And the boat drifts on to the shoreline.
And the sun will respect
Every face on the deck,
The hour that the ship comes in . . . "

The 37-song soundtrack introduces me to the music of a distinctive assortment of younger voices singing Bob Dylan songs, including a teenage actor from the film, Marcus Carl Franklin, as well the older voices of Richie Havens, Willie Nelson and Rambling Jack Elliott.

And I have no trouble at all understanding how a person could find nothing good at all to say about Todd Hayne's film or Bob Dylan and his music.

I'm one of those who never stopped listening to Bob Dylan, for good or for worse, because I felt a kinship with him that has survived since I was 14 years old. I began by idolizing him and grew to appreciate what I see as his qualities of being a vulnerable, unpredictable and creative human being. How could I not love the person who, as a young man wrote:

" . . . I'm just average, common too
I'm just like him, the same as you
I'm everybody's brother and son
I ain't different from anyone
It ain't no use a-talking to me
It's just the same as talking to you . . . "
(from "I Shall Be Free, No. 10")

and as a 65-year-old man wrote:

". . . They say prayer has the power to heal
So pray for me, mother
In the human heart an evil spirit can dwell
I am a-tryin' to love my neighbor and do good unto others
But oh, mother, things ain't going well . . . "

(from "Ain't Talkin")

Particularly moving for me were the parts of "I'm Not There" concerned with Bob Dylan as a husband and father:

(photo copyright by Elliott Landy)

No man can see Bob Dylan through a woman's eyes, just as no woman can see Bob Dylan through a man's eyes.

Perhaps that is the genius of Cate Blanchett playing the role of Jude Quinn / Bob Dylan in a way that is as unforgettable to me as Bob Dylan himself.


The Solitary Walker said...

Wonderful quotes, of course. Wanna see that film. First thing I read about in the paper on the train coming back from the airport from another world.


Amazingly, I have yet to see the film. But I'm going tomorrow.

So while I check out "I'm Not There," why don't you check out my new novel, BLOOD ON THE TRACKS.

It's a murder-mystery. But not just any rock superstar is knocking on heaven's door. The murdered rock legend is none other than Bob Dorian, an enigmatic, obtuse, inscrutable, well, you get the picture...

Suspects? Tons of them. The only problem is they're all characters in Bob's songs.

You can get a copy on or go "behind the tracks" at to learn more about the book.