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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must-see for all Patti Smith fans, and art lovers too
I was fortunate to see this film in a local art cinema with a talkback by the videographer, Sebring. Even not being a die-hard Smith fan, I thoroughly enjoyed the evocative, grainy film technique as well as Patti's voiceover musings and clips from concerts. The film was shot over a number of years by Sebring, her close friend, allowing glimpses into her persona we mere...
Published on January 21, 2009 by Amazon Customer

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7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tired Rockumentary
This is a great film for die-hard Patti Smith fanatics but it won't convert or illuminate anyone else. It's your typical indie-rockumentary with the exception that it began filming at a time when Smith had already bought into her own legend. So you get Patti Smith Rock Star not the person who became one. She name drops incessantly, Ginsberg, Mapplethorpe, Dylan, Chelsea...
Published on November 16, 2010 by Kurt Steele


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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must-see for all Patti Smith fans, and art lovers too, January 21, 2009
By 
Amazon Customer "Q" (Westchester Co., NY USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dream of Life (DVD)
I was fortunate to see this film in a local art cinema with a talkback by the videographer, Sebring. Even not being a die-hard Smith fan, I thoroughly enjoyed the evocative, grainy film technique as well as Patti's voiceover musings and clips from concerts. The film was shot over a number of years by Sebring, her close friend, allowing glimpses into her persona we mere mortals would not otherwise be given, and her sharing of her art, poetry, friends and family were rolled in to the whole quite cohesively, interspersed with loose-styled video. On the whole, while I expected a standard concert film and to be somewhat bored, I found myself involved and moved, and very glad to have seen it. I've ordered the DVD to watch again, something I rarely do with films.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Film Is Artistic Collage of Artist's Life, February 5, 2009
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This review is from: Dream of Life (DVD)
Patti Smith Dream Of Life

Steven Sebring's documentary film about the "Godmother of Punk," artist, poet, political activist, widow, and mother Patti Smith, is an artfully rendered collage of her life. It took 11 years to film. Often I felt as if she was speaking directly to me, as she offered up items and places and people and memories that were central to her life. As a fan of 30 years, I felt privileged to receive this generous colllaborative portrait of Patti Smith's private life. Sebring's cinematography was unusually beautiful and innovative. During some segments which were spoken, the volume was normal, or even a bit enhanced. Some parts were filmed very effectively with no sound whatsoever, most notably one scene that showed her onstage in Japan before a large crowd of very young fans- only Patti singing, gesticulating with her arms outstretched; fans jumping, waving, cheering- all in slow motion and bathed in red light. When the song ends, we see her slowly bring her hands up to cover her face, and she turns away, leaving her audience ecstatic. This was the closest I've ever seen a film clip come to portraying her shamanic onstage presence. As she brings us to meet her parents, we discover their remaining closeness, and that mom and dad have attended her shows for many years (until her dad went deaf in one ear, and she had to begin playing private acoustic shows just for him). I won't give any more of the film away, except to note that her reading of a poem she wrote after visiting Tibet was incredibly moving, and even brought the "Godmother of Punk" to tears.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A work of love, February 24, 2009
By 
Gaylen Halbert (Weimar, California United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dream of Life (DVD)
Steven Sebring has crafted a wonderful film that can be appreciated by Patti fans and anyone who can recognize a documentary that was done with great respect and affection for its subject. Don't expect a lot of concert footage. There are however numerous, albeit brief, musical snippets that enhance the story. This is a DVD I will never part with.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hypnotic, September 18, 2009
By 
Katherine McCarthy "kath e. miller" (Forest Hills, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dream of Life (DVD)
I love Patti Smith - in all her mediums - and have followed her career from the very early '70's when I saw a TV special on WOR in New York City one Sunday night. She was describing the graffiti on subway cars (rampant at the time) like a new age Jackson Pollack. I was in High School, struggling to be a writer. I was captivated. I immediately sought out her poetry. She wasn't in rock band. She was writing about rock in Creem magazine, and doing animated poetry readings like Rock 'n' Rimbaud at a former Welfare Hotel, the Diplomat, with the earliest drag queen performance artists. I followed her as she started to do poetry readings with Lenny Kaye strumming on guitar, then to Max's with the addition of Richard Sohl.

I didn't get around to seeing this film at the Film Forum. My schedule was crazy. I knew in advance I would buy it on DVD. I'm glad I saw it by myself, at home, in control of my environment. It's a dreamscape, and aptly named. Don't bother watching if you don't have the time or the attention span. This is detail work. Patti's life and commentary is like a tapestry, weaving in and out of remembrances. Tread by thread. Thought by thought.

Patti is a lovable raconteur. In the early days, she would often stop her shows to tell a bad joke. Like a kid. Then proceed to sing as if possessed. She still does. The film takes its time to weave in her remembrances - the beloved husband and father taken too soon; her parents, working class, and loving, with their aged dog; her ambition to get out of Jersey and into New York; art - in all forms - to embrace the word, the vision, the textures of paint, photography, song, three chord rock & roll. When the film breaks away from the reverie with glimpses of shamanistic performance it's jarring but riveting.

Kudos, not only to the director,Stephen Sebring, filming over 11 years is worthy of an "Atta boy!" and probably hazard pay. Access to Patti throughout the years, and obvious trust instilled, elevates this film from documentary to art. Bravo! to co-producer Margaret Smilow, who spun all that footage into this beautiful, grainy, ethereal, imperfect montage. It sucks you in and keeps you, if you're willing to let it, and have the time to devote.

I don't know if people who have heard about Patti Smith but don't really know her work would love this film as much as I did. But to me it's the essence of who she is, and how she sees this mortal coil. It's a wonder to see her children's growth, from baby pictures with Fred, to finding a bathroom for little Jesse, to the man and woman they are today. At one point, when I saw the adult Jackson Smith, I sat upright in my chair and said to myself, "God he looks just like his father!" Fred would be proud.

To see her beautiful daughter riding in a Central Park carriage while her mom talked about "She Walked Home" written about Jackie Kennedy coming to grips with dying, with her departed husband singing the song in the background, the song Patti wrote but won't sing because Fred made it his own. I cried.

Patti, Fred, Jackson, Jesse. Lenny & the band. Her mom and dad. I gave Patti a letter at a book signing. Her mom took the time to write back, and send an autographed, early 45 rpm record jacket. I was awestruck she took the time to respond and send such a lovely keepsake. In a weird way, after nearly 40 years, Patti's family. And this is a home movie.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A treasure trove of images, sounds and details from the first woman of Punk., March 21, 2009
This review is from: Dream of Life (DVD)
I've been a fan of Patti Smith since I was 15 and after seeing her twice in concert, I jumped at seeing this film but had to wait until It was released on dvd. Three months later I find myself still watching it, looking for things I didn't notice before. This woman is the real thing, her early days at NYC's CBGB's, the retirement with Fred Sonic Smith, her children, the loss of family friends and her resurgence in 1996 with Gone Again.

This film was insightful to both Patti Smith fans and also managed to recruit new ones as well. I love when she's on the couch with her parents and her mother requests songs. The deleted scenes are gems and the interview with Jackson Smith, son and heir to the legacies of both Patti as well as the late Fred Sonic Smith. Jackson not only sounds like his mother but his face bares a nod to his father as well. The same can be said for Jesse. It's classic to see her playing piano with the keys pounding out her mother's 1975 classic birdland.

Watch it, you'll enjoy every bit of this film.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting inside Patti's mind...., May 4, 2013
This review is from: Dream of Life (DVD)
One thing I have discovered over the years about many people who write reviews here, is that unfortunately many of them wouldn't know the art of writing a fair and accurate review if it came up and bit them in the arse. Lesson #1 is that when it comes to unusual subjects that nearly defy a category such as this one, it's wise to do some research. In the case of this documentary, in order to appreciate it you'd have to understand the circumstances in which it was made. When director Sebring approached Patti about the idea of making this film she wasn't sure if she liked the idea or even wanted it to happen. She also had no idea what the film was to be about. Mostly Sebring told her, he simply wanted to capture her life on film. Good, bad, happy, boring, funny, or what ever. Patti just thought, "Well why not? it might be nice to have some moments of my life and the lives of my friends captured for posterity even if I am not completely comfortable with the idea." The film was also made over the course of nearly 12 years, which makes the presence of a camera often a rather routine presence after a period of time. So what you get in the process is the real Patti. Sometimes boring, sometimes funny. sometimes even slightly egotistical. But also sad, humble, reflective, intense, emotional, ect. In other words, Patti Smith is, in many ways- just like you and I. She just happens to be a legend too. A writer, artist, poet, singer, activist. But above all she's a warmly genuine and often interesting human being. This film is a rare glimpse into the life of a woman I admire more than nearly any woman I can think of, except for perhaps my own mother of course :)
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars gentle rain, April 2, 2009
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This review is from: Dream of Life (DVD)
This film is crazy good. Hypnotic, transcendent, going right up next to the edge and looking down and knowing that feeling that you caught a glimpse into the secret that reaffirms magical living. Michele said it's Barack's favorite new film but I saw it before I knew that.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Godmother of Punk rock., December 28, 2009
This review is from: Dream of Life (DVD)
Patti Smith has always been an astonishingly iconoclastic, performing and visual artist. She's always been the most influential woman, in the Punk rock world. She really helped kick-start this exciting new genre of music, when it was still just a fringe element of the rock scene, in the mid-70s.

Patti also single-handedly crafted a bold new image, of the female rock performer during the 70s. She startled the rock world with her unapologetic, devil-may-care androgynous style. Patti was the first woman in rock, to completely eschew glamor. Her clothes and shoes that she wears, have always been scruffy and disheveled. Her hair is scraggly, and she has a long, homely face. She is the complete personification, of what Punk rock is all about-brash, gritty, daring, and wickedly avant-guard.

This documentary highlights Patti's exceptional achievements as a visual artist, poet, and Punk rock icon. Her personal life is completely laid open for the viewer. Patti is shown at her childhood home in a humble working class neighborhood, visiting her parents. Patti's two children also appear in this film, and she shows how proud she is of her family. The viewer plainly realizes that instead of being a decadent rock star, Patti Smith is a warm, caring, and sharply intelligent human being.

This film has an arty visual style, which dovetails perfectly, with Patti Smith's status as a dedicated artist and performer. At times, the film drags on a bit. And there's a morose quality, underlying the film too. This factor is brought on mainly by Patti's intense focus, on the deaths of her spouse Fred, brother Todd, and friend Robert Mapplethorpe. It was obviously cathartic for Patti to discuss the sense of anguish that she feels, about the deaths of those she cared deeply about. That in itself is positive, but it dominated the film a bit too much.

For those who are not yet familiar with Patti Smith, seeing this film is a good way to acquaint yourself with her, and her legendary accomplishments as an artist/musician. Now in her early 60s, Patti Smith still reigns supreme, as the Godmother of Punk rock.
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5.0 out of 5 stars patti smith never disapoints, April 21, 2013
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This review is from: Dream of Life (DVD)
if you love patti smith as much as i do you will love this documentary.
she comes across as this mean, angry militant, but when she goes home to visit her parents she becomes this soft spoken little girl who obviously loves her parents very much.
highly recommended.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dream Of Life, March 31, 2011
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MARIE KAZ (SEATTLE, WA, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Dream of Life (DVD)
Sweet, honest, and genuine Patti Smith...Her poetry flows throughout this lovely tribute to her dear friend Robert, their intensely complicated relationship, and their youthful experiences growing up in New York City.
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Dream of Life
Dream of Life by Steven Sebring (DVD - 2009)
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