A film by Roderick Smith (www.rodericksmith.com), featuring the Music of Bob Dylan and the 16th century engravings of Peter Bruegel the Elder
This 10 minute film is a collage of music and imagery set down by two artists who lived 450 years apart. The unexpected union of these visionaries was a chance encounter late one night when, as painter Roderick Smith was perusing an old book of engravings by Flemish artist Peter Bruegel the Elder, Bob Dylan's Desolation Row happened to be played on the radio. In an instant an uncanny collaboration was taking place. The wildly strange visual imagery of Bruegel was illustrating the equally bizarre lyrics of the Dylan song. They were in tandem - yet neither medium violated the unique vision of the other. Convinced that a creative miracle was at hand, Mr. Smith set about capturing this creative apparition with the use of marionettes, engravings and the music of Bob Dylan. D519 is the result.Part 2 is now available on YouTube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9hYgB_3Vqg&feature=related
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"Great visuals. Nothing else like it."
"This show is absolutely amazing. The artist could perhaps have found a better live recording but, never mind, you haven't seen anything like it. Its brilliant!"
The recording used was from Cedar Rapids 2000 with a harmonica performance (not Dylan) added for the film.
This short film is amazing.
Everyone reading this review has at least a passing interest in Bob Dylan and his music. Now, though Desolation Row need not be your favorite (it isn't mine) among the Dylan canon, it is one of those generally highly regarded songs which helped give Bob his iconic status as a seer and a songwriter; thus everyone with even a passing interest in Dylan's music should care at least a bit about this song. Then, if one is going to listen to the song, one should perforce pay attention to the imagery. Finally, viewing this film will bring out some of the imagery in ways which will amaze, amuse, and astound. Thus, everyone reading this review should view this short film.
As a minor quibble, the version of the song used for the soundtrack (Cedar Rapids, 3 April 2000, as I understand), is a decidedly pedestrian version, workmanlike but uninspired. There are many live performances of Desolation Row which far surpass this one. That is a quibble, though, and does not interfere with the enjoyment.
D519 will never make my regular rotation. It remains, however, a must-see. Good headphones, a darkened room, the adult beverage of your choice, and Roderick Smith's film will give you an excellent ten minutes; if it is your first time viewing this film, and even if it is not, I daresay you may enjoy it several times more. (Readers, most probably those of a certain age, who are calling to mind other ten-minute experiences in darkened rooms after enjoying an adult beverage, should keep their minds out of the gutter and focused on the review at hand.)
The artwork is amazing, the puppetry whimsical and fun. The joining of Desolation Row to both makes for an indispensible viewing. Five stars in a walk.
Reviewed by pswets on 13th April 2009
I first got this DVD out of pure curiousity and had spent a long time beforehand wondering how on earth a one song disc performed by a puppet and set to some of the strangest images in creation could possibly merit a five star rating. True enough to say that Desolation Row is high on the the list of all Dylan and a lot of non-Dylan fans, but to have it played by a mop-haired puppet whilst viewing drawings from the 16th century was surely going to be a step short of insanity.
So, with a hugely sceptical outlook I popped it into the DVD player and sat back to witness a rat scurrying across a mock-up stage and thought to myself "There must be some way outa here".
I was totally un-prepared for what was happening in front of my eyes for the next ten minutes and if a meteor had come through my roof during those ten minutes, I honestly don't think I would have noticed it. I was completely entranced by what I was witnessing and was breathless with wonderment at the end of it.
The rat scurried off again and for the first time in my life I applauded my television set in a standing position.
There isn't a need for me to describe the music and images of this disc and how magically and mystically they work together. To do so would take away from the sense of wonder a first time viewer of it may be anticipating as s/he plays it for the first time.
If you don't have this disc, do whatever you can to get it.
Reviewed by Townes on 13th April 2009