Sunday, 22 June 2008

EIFF: Patti Smith: Dream of Life - Review by Carmody Wilson

Director: Steven Sebring
Running Time: 109 mins

Patti Smith is at least the most legendary and known of a certain type of musician. Her music is a chugging train of punk, politics and poetry, but is less Clash and more Waylon Jennings meets the Rolling Stones via Allen Ginsberg. In this documentary, a ten year product of endless filming of Smith on the road and off, Steven Sebring finds the anarchic angel of androgyny bemused by her own fame, reflective of past relationships, cautiously linked to the past and unwaveringly looking to the future. Grainy black and white images of Smith sawing away on her axe onstage whilst rhythmically pummelling the audience with her hypnotic rock roll-call are intercut with slice-of-life scenes with her family and fellow musicians. No film can fully capture the clean, guttural sensuality of Smith and her talent, but Dream of Life is about as close as you can get without getting dirty yourself.

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