Trouble In Mind ...01/17/2005 10:15:06 am
The NY Daily News hereby sets expectations about Martin Scorsese's
upcoming "American Masters" bio on Dylan
upside down. This film has been getting mentions in
the press for about 2 years. It was always reported
like way back here by the
BBC that, in the course of
making it, Scorsese was conducting an extensive
interview with Dylan. It was said he "has
been granted full access to the famously media-shy
Now in the Daily News:
Director Martin Scorsese has
been working for two years on the upcoming
two-part PBS "American Masters"
biography of Bob Dylan - and still hasn't
had any contact with him.
"I'd not like to
deal with the man directly," Scorsese
told members of the Television Critics
Association over the weekend. "I'd
like to find the story and then play it out the
way I think it's right. ... It's better I just
deal with the material."
It turns out that Dylan's manager
Jeff Rosen interviewed Dylan instead, for "10
hours," - footage that may or may not be used in
whatever way Scorsese thinks fit.
Now, I know that it's Scorsese's
right to make whatever film he wants, and there's
something to be said for independence of vision, etc,
etc. He's certainly made some very fine films.
However, in dealing with Dylan's early career, up to
1966 or so - as this film is said to do - there is no
doubt that the politics of the time will enter into
the mix. A brief example of Martin Scorsese's
politics can be found in this Reuters story from January 2003, quoting him on the Iraq
"One hopes that this kind
of war can be done diplomatically, with
intelligence rather than wiping out a lot
of innocent civilians," Scorsese
told BBC radio. ...
"There are a lot of
Americans who also feel that a lot of this (war
talk) is economic," he said in London where
he attended the premier of "Gangs."
"Part of this has to do with the
Scorsese also appeared to
suggest that the U.S. was heavy-handed in the way
it approached other cultures.
"I think it really has to
come down to respecting how other people
live," he said. "There's got
to be ways this can be worked out diplomatically,
there simply has to be."
(I would allow that we fell a
little short in terms of respecting how Uday, Qusay
and Saddam lived, and might have been a bit heavy
handed with regard to their culture of mass rape,
torture and murder.)
It will need to be borne in mind
then that despite the fact that Dylan gave Scorsese
great freedom with regard to using archived material,
this is not in fact an "authorized" film.
Scorsese himself is making it quite clear that he is
determined to plow his own course. It is a fact that
Dylan and Dylan's people have been very flexible in
allowing people to use material to give their own
perspective on his body of work. Witness one of the first posts
on this website with a
fairly lengthy list of doings, including the weird Todd Haynes project. With all the books that come out about Bob
all the time, when was the last time you heard of him
suing over one? He obviously has the attitude that
it's better to just let it all go and add up to one
big chaotic whole. "All the truth in the
world adds up to one big lie,"
As written here somewhere before,
the Left always tries to reclaim Dylan for themselves
after a nasty shock (like his refusal to come out
against the Vietnam War, or his Gospel music). So,
will Scorsese's movie be the first big step by the
Left to reclaim Dylan's work after the rather
disappointing political angles that emerged in Chronicles?
Here's betting at least that
Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater will not be presented
as Dylan's favorite politician.
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