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A great documentary, like any film, needs to erase the furniture you’re sitting on, the floor, the walls, the temperature of the room, hunger, stress, responsibilities, ego — the complete tangible and intangible context that exists off-screen.
Martin Scorses’s “No Direction Home,” is an incredible eraser. But when I initially sat down to review the two-part, 208-minute documentary that spans the early evolution of Bob Dylan’s career, I had my doubts.
I love much of Dylan’s music, from his self-titled debut with its witty folk standards to his more stream-of-consciousness lyrics of the mid-1960s and 1970s. “Subterranean Homesick Blues” is on my running play list in my iPod.
However, no matter how big a fan I am, I never have three-and-a-half hours to devote to something as non-essential as watching a movie. So, when I pushed the play button, I was utterly unprepared for how introspective, how unadorned, how revealing the film is.
And after the end credits, I didn’t feel like I had done something as non-essential as watching a movie.
I felt like I had been as close as most of us will ever come to having a long, deep, personal conversation with a folk/rock song writing legend.
Typically, even tangible, off-screen life is glutted with surface-only thoughts and desires. It was wonderful to escape into someone else, especially someone whose work has been part of my life for so long.
The most absorbing documentary I’ve ever seen will screen at 6:30 p.m. Thursday as part of Mesa Public Library’s Free Film Series, focused this season on musicians. Admission is free, thanks to the Friends of Mesa Public Library.
The Music Film Series continues with “High Fidelity” on May 5 and “Almost Famous” on June 2.
The series is co-sponsored by the Los Alamos Arts Council.
For more information on the Free Film Series, call Mesa Public Library at 662-8240.
Kelly Dolejsi is a member of the Los Alamos Arts Council.
If you go
What: Screening of “No Direction Home”
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Mesa Public Library