Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Second Time Around 

Wednesday, Dec 3 1997
Dont Look Back
"I am another," wrote Rimbaud. There is perhaps no better documentary of the separation of self from self than Dont Look Back, D.A. Pennebaker's portrait of Bob Dylan just before the flood. On the surface, it's a behind-the-scenes cinema verite look at a 1965 series of British shows by a man who was then a unique folk star, and indeed this we see: Dylan performing luminously, sparring with the press, hanging out with friends (Joan Baez and Alan Price among them), talking calmly and kindly with fans. But underneath is a portrait of a wary youngster, hammered from what seems to be speed and exhausted from the petty and not-so-petty travails of stardom, on the cusp of creating a new identity. Having already sparked a revolution, Dylan is about to trump it dazzlingly: A just-released electric single, "Subterranean Homesick Blues," and album, Bringing It All Back Home, have begun to remake his persona, and there are small reminders here that he will return home to face the boos at Newport. The tension finds him clashing with nearly everyone: with Baez, his lover; with Donovan, a comically shallow British doppelgänger; with hapless journalists; and with himself. Over this engrossing film's most famous scenes -- Dylan brutalizing a Time magazine reporter, or blowing Donovan away with a hotel-room version of "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" -- looms this alienation, finally articulated by the singer himself as he gazes at the latest bizarre press clipping. "I'm glad I'm not me," he says.

-- Bill Wyman

Dont Look Back plays at 7, 9, and 11 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5, at the Roxie, 3117 16th St. (at Valencia). Tickets are $6; call 863-1087.

About The Author

Bill Wyman


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"