Dream of Life
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Photographer- director Steven Sebring creates a beautiful collage of images, memories and performances illuminating the complexities and capturing the essence of this distinctive, legendary icon. The film follows Patti Smith s punk-icon roots in the 70s through the trials of daily life and untimely deaths that have formed her life and art. Smith tells the story of her early days in New York City, the people that we dearest to her (her late husband Fred Sonic Smith, Allen Ginsburg, Robert Mapplethorpe, and others), her family, and the political causes for which she so deeply struggled.
Through beautiful cinematography, (both black and white, and color), Sebring captures the essence nature of this vital and relevant American artist.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a gentle heart. What a resilient mind. What a beautiful journey.Published 20 months ago by Frances
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... Read morePublished on May 4, 2013 by Natja K.
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... Read more
Sorry if I get any of you riled by my review, but here goes. As background, I grew up w/ Patti Smith, bought Horses on vinyl from Korvettes immediately when it came out. Read morePublished on October 11, 2011 by Suzinne Barrett
The first chapter and last chapter in the movie would not do a video synch on either to two players on my computer, giving a coarse multicolor changing grid instead of a coherent... Read morePublished on July 25, 2011 by Dwight N. Rousu