Sunday, September 25, 2005

Journal Gazette | Einstein, Bob Dylan, Sherlock Holmes among PBS fall programs

"Public broadcasting has again survived - for now - political attempts to cripple it with budgets cuts, which makes it either fitting or ironic that a long-planned centerpiece of PBS' fall season concerns those rollicking, politically contentious 1960s.

And in the middle of that is one of the highest-profile pieces PBS has aired in some time: Martin Scorsese's enthralling 3 1/2 -hour documentary on Bob Dylan called 'No Direction Home.'

The film, to be aired over two nights at 9 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, focuses on the singer-songwriter's life from 1961 to 1966, the years of his rise as folk singer and cultural icon, and it is nothing short of fascinating - not just because Scorcese instills it with life and fills it with music, but because Dylan is a fascinating subject.

Scorsese tells the story with reams of archival footage (much of it contributed by the Dylan camp), through new and old interviews with people such as Joan Baez, Pete Seeger and Alan Ginsberg and through a series of fresh, and often candid interviews with Dylan, who does not seem comfortable with his status as the touchstone for a generation.

What emerges is a picture of a Dylan who is almost a savant, a genius at understanding the fundamentals of being human and at putting that to words and music, and of a Dylan who is contrarian by nature, always wanting to move forward, to achieve something different, to challenge himself and everyone."

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