I’m Not There on DVD: a muted welcome

I’m Not There, Todd Haynes’ art-house film on the many lives of “Bob Dylan”, split Zimfandom; I found it deeply enjoyable (see review below).

Monday (14 July) finally sees the UK release of I’m Not There on DVD (Region 2 – Europe, Japan). Normally, I’d be queueing to buy a copy.

But, as far as I can make out from favoured online suppliers, it’s only available to European buyers in the single disc version. US consumers have had the choice of one or two disc versions since its May release in North America.

So I’ll be ignoring I’m Not There – until a Region 2 2DVD version goes on sale, or the single disc version hits the bargain bins at under £5.

Only a muted Dylan Daily welcome, then, for I’m Not There on DVD, I’m afraid.

Pity, great pity. This isn’t the first time European Dylan consumers have been expected to be thankful for half a loaf.

Gerry Smith

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EARLIER RELATED ARTICLE

I’m Not There – artful, enjoyable, stimulating

I hadn’t really fancied I’m Not There, probably as a reaction to the incessant wall of hype greeting the film’s release.

And half an hour into yesterday’s showing at my local art-house cinema, I felt vindicated.

Harrumph! Woody, the tiresomely precocious young black version of Dylan, had me gritting my teeth. Hollywood does it again, I was thinking – manages to turn gold into lead. Why was I wasting my time in a cinema on a fine spring Sunday?

Then some new characters were introduced – notably Rimbaud and Ms Blanchett – and I’m Not There took wing and eventually started soaring. And the next 90 minutes was riveting.

Ideas were bursting from the screen so quickly that you had to concentrate hard to pick up all the references, catch all the quotations.

But it was more than a sterile intellectual exercise – it was emotionally engaging, too. You were regularly moved by the script and the performances. The chaos of something approaching Dylan’s world was beautifully evoked. And the use of Dylan’s music was spellbinding.

I’m Not There is not, as I had suspected, an exploitation biopic. No, it’s a major movie in its own right, an artful rumination on Dylan’s genius, and an appropriately masterful contribution to our perception of who he really is (or might be).

I’ll be buying the DVD, partly to max on the enjoyment, partly to try unravelling the complexities of a richly layered piece of art.

If you haven’t yet seen I’m Not There, you’re in for a feast – it’s an enjoyable, endlessly stimulating feast.

Gerry Smith

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