Watched: November 23 2020
Director: D. A. Pennebaker
Starring: Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Albert Grossman, Bob Neuwirtz, etc.
Runtime: 1h 36min
We have a confession to make. We don’t really care that much about Bob Dylan…
I mean, sure, we know the hits, we know the face and we get the general gist of his appeal, but he was never really our cup of tea. Or coffee for that matter. Still, we thought, we’ll give this a go. Perhaps it will be our come-to-Jesus-moment?
For those not in the know, Dont Look Back is a documentary covering one of Dylan’s UK tours. It’s an interesting look into the folk music scene in the ’60s, the “proper” establishment versus the young, rebellious musicians, fame versus artistry, and it’s probably a perfect film for Bob Dylan fans to enjoy together, preferably with a couple of beers and loads of cigarettes.
Esthetically, it’s very pleasing as well. The black and white photography is beautiful, the start is very cool, the music is of course excellent, and the style works very well with the contents. Also, the negotiation scene is surprisingly intriguing, and overall we enjoyed it.
However, Dylan himself comes across as an arrogant, argumentative prick. Which isn’t really the best way to win us over as fans, reported genius aside. In fact, we found him quite annoying… Which probably wasn’t the intention, but that was the unfortunate result, and we tend not to like artists who are argumentative bastards, no matter their cultural importance.
In conclusion: esthetically, filmatically, culturally and historically, this movie is definitely worth watching and you get a fantastic sense of the 1960s. Personally, it’s hard to like Bob Dylan in this – sure he’s cute and charming, but he’s also fucking annoying and arrogant. Then again, he was 23 years old and everybody worshipped him, so can you really hold it against him..?
What we learned: We’re the wrong audience for this movie.
Next time: In Cold Blood (1967)