… but, via the magic of the internet, I can speak to you oracularly, from the past. Except that you’re probably not here anyway, either, since it’s the day before Thanksgiving. Whatever.
I’m Not There, Todd Haynes’s not-a-Dylan-biopic, opens today at Film Forum. It’s a not insignificant cultural event, and you’re probably going to want to buy tickets in advance (tonight’s 7pm show is already — like, was already, in the past when I wrote this — sold out). Luckily for you, it’s Thanksgiving weekend, so it’ll less difficult to get a ticket than it might otherwise be. (And luckily for the film and its distributors, word-of-mouth has been so extravagant that it’ll probably make decent opening weekend money despite being a really cerebral semiotic text opening in N.Y. and L.A. only on the second-heartlandiest holiday of the year.)
I’ve already said a fair amount of what I have to say about the movie; for now I’ll just add a little more in the way of comparison between the film and (noted Dylan fan) Jonathan Lethem’s The Ecstasy of Influence essay. Both, it turns out, seize on Rimbaud’s quote “I is an other” as a way of getting at the idea of identity, in the modern, media-saturated era, as something that’s constructed, especially via borrowings from other cultural texts. I can’t think of a subject more relevant or potentially rich; Dylan is quite possibly the ideal vehicle for an exploration of it.
Also, I’m Not There is stylistically various and bracing, and the music is pretty awesome. It’s a really good movie and if you’re in the city for the weekend, you should see it.
(And if you’re not in the city this weekend, you should just rent Velvet Goldmine.)