Blu-ray Patti Smith - Dream of Life [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray 6933302),
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Patti Smith - Dream of Life [Blu-ray]

  • Blu-ray
  • 1 disc
  • Region B Europe/Australia (info)
  • Less a documentary than a slightly trippy home movie, Steven Sebring's DREAM OF LIFE gathers about 10 recent years' worth of footage of the rock icon Patti Smith: in performance, lolling on Baudelaire's grave, protesting the war in Iraq, strolling Coney Island with her children (who are so physically and spiritually similar to the artist as to appear almost as fractal emanations of her), jamming on acoustic guitars with old friend and former lover Sam Shepard, and chatting openly to the camera without a trace of self-consciousness. On the soundtrack is the elegiac narration by the artist herself, along with her incantatory poetry and music. The absence of portentous voiceovers or aggrandizing talking heads underscores the intimacy and humble quality of the production, although the plethora of cameo shots of members of rock music royalty indicates the wide-ranging influence Smith has had since the mid-1970s.

    The narrative is not exactly linear, but Smith and Sebring do take us on a biographical journey, highlighting the 1990s and '00s especially, the time of her widowhood and subsequent comeback to music. Longing, sadness, and grief (for her beloved husband, Fred Smith, as well as for her brother, her parents, and her friend Robert Mapplethorpe) hang in the air, but Smith's personality is so winningly girlish and full of present-moment wonderment that the sadness is poignant and life-affirming rather than depressing. The film--perhaps a little long at two hours but still a visual and musical feast--is a celebration of the redemptive power of song and poetry, of being awake to the beauty all around, and it is a tonic for the soul.
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  • Critic Reviews
    4 stars out of 5 -- "Peppered with memories, archive footage and snapshots....A warm insight into a 70s legend..."
    Empire

    "[S]trikingly shot....Every time she hits the stage, both Smith and the film catch fire."
    Rolling Stone

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