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Second Time Around 

Wednesday, Dec 3 1997
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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.

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Bill Wyman

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