“No Direction Home” (Netflix)

I really thought I’d had enough of movies about Bob Dylan after watching with mixed feelings Scorsese’s 2019 “Rolling Thunder Revue”. Pseudo documentaries leave me uncomfortable with their ambiguity. I understand that history is revisionist. But the 2019 film played with the truth to such an extent that I really didn’t know what to make of it all. Still, it was fun to watch: great music, news footage, and nostalgia both bitter and sweet. “No Direction Home” was released fifteen years ago. For me, it is a stronger film. I have found that one of the mixed blessings of old age is that I can watch a movie I’ve seen before and re-appreciate it as if I had never watched it before. Thus I revisited “No Direction Home” with renewed pleasure, and for you young’uns out there who may not have seen it, I strongly recommend that you do. Obviously the center of the film is Dylan with all his complexity, but there is so much more to it. Film footage of music greats: (Mavis Staples, Joan Baez, Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters, Pete Seeger to name a few)., acknowledgements of his influences, tempered, but usually affectionate recollections by other musicians and key people in the music world, and footage of historical civil rights events. So much of what was fought for, the speeches, the anger, the frustration feel here and now and not sixty years ago. It’s a long movie–I’ve been watching it over three days. But it’s a great film on so many levels.

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