'm_Not_There.jpgTodd Haynes’ brilliant new film, I’m Not There, was once subtitled
Suppositions on a Film Concerning Bob Dylan. I think that subtitle goes
a long way to letting you know what kind of movie this is: non-linear
and without a specific through-line… or a through-Dylan. Six actor
play Bob, or aspects of him, and there’s no textual connection between
them. The connection between these aspects of Bobness and the real Bob
can be hard to understand for outsiders who only know Dylan from a few
iconic moments and songs; Haynes has not bothered with a standard
biopic but with a movie that attempts to chronicle the inner changeling
in Mrs. Zimmerman’s boy.

Which of course makes for a difficult film. I know a number of critics
– all of whom are not Dylan fans – who hated the film. And I imagine
that audiences enticed to the movie this weekend might find themselves
quite puzzled at some of what’s going on. Of course, so was I, even as
a Dylan fan. I’m Not There isn’t a puzzle film but it engages the
audience like one, so why would anyone want an answer key?

The Weinstein Company is giving select audiences just such a key –
what’s being described as ‘liner notes’ will be handed out to audiences
in certain markets. They’ll include an intro to Dylan and excerpts of
articles about the guy. Says Weinstein marketing honcho Gary Faber:
“Preview audiences have enjoyed ‘I’m Not There’ so much that they leave
the film eager to learn more about Dylan’s life and art. The articles
selected for the notes will help audiences unlock some of the secrets
in the film and enable them to enjoy it in a unique and special way.”

Holding audiences’ hands is always a bummer, but if this allows more
people to enjoy this truly unique and exciting film experience, so be
it. Look for a Todd Haynes interview here on CHUD right after I find my
missing voice recorder. D’oh!