DVDylan ID: D003
Recording type: ProShot

This is one of the most profound explorations if the myth of the 'true self' I know of--right up there with Nietzsche, Beckett and Derrida on the subject. Believe none of this drivel about the film you hear on the net, but believe Dylan when he says--"Americans are lazy, not wanting to watch a 4 hour movie. They want art to be like wallpaper, putting in no work." Amen.

Reviewed by acristofani on 28th November 2007

Please understand that I am a huge Dylan fan and bought this VCR on Ebay for over $50 as it is practically impossible to get anywhere at all. I recently went to one of his '07 concerts and can even put up with his very croaky voice. Now I know why Dylan does not want this horrendous piece of ???? out there.

First, just for practical points, beyond the "meaning"-which seems actually very common-place and not at all difficult to understand--all the technical qualities about this film are extremely poor. The lighting is so bad in some parts that you can't even see the people in the scenes. The sound, especially for Dylan's and Sara's words is horrible, in most places I couldn't only hear half of what they were mumbling. The camera-work, again, is terrible and has the feel of a very bad home movie. I suppose one could argue "well, it was only 1975," but to that, I say, pshaw. Actually, the technicalities of even the movie Earthquake which was shown playing at some local theaters as the man-on-the-street interviews were going on, were better than this film. Here again, we don't know who the cameraman is. Sometimes it sounds like Dylan and sometimes ???? This has no meaning to me whatsoever, only that the filming was horrible.

As to the meaning, I do not agree that it was this "surrealistic, cubist thematic masterpiece" and we, the poor dumb public are just too stupid to understand. And that there are all these layers of understanding here. I think it was pretty obvious that it was a simple tale of a love triangle and love gone wrong in general as well as fleeting glimpses into Dylan's mind of his thoughts and feelings about women in general. And, to make up for all these technical guffaws, Dylan maniacs have made up some existential, surrealistic nonsense, when I see it only as purely badly executed filming.

As far as HIS performance, he appears to be a catatonic, mumbler and does not exude one ounce of emotion, surreal or otherwise anywhere. Actually, his "film presence" if there is such a concept equates with a walk-on.

The ONLY redeeming part of this film was bringing to light the plight of Ruben "Hurricane" Carter, which was just so masterfully done a few years back with the stellar performance by Denzel Washington. What this had to do with the movie is extremely far-fetched. If Dylan is equating himself with Mr. Carter since perhaps he feels imprisoned by his celebrity and fans, that is a very big stretch. Ruben Carter has character and integrity that far surpasses most of the population of this country and certainly that possessed by Mr. Dylan.

Also of note, Joan Baez seems like the only person alive here (excepting the gypsy). Sara Dylan seems totally pretentious and condescending, but then at least she doesn't come across as a complete automaton, as all the others do.

Some say that Dylan's musical performances make this film passable, but even here, they were very poorly filmed with bad sound. Even the 1965 "Don't Look Back" bare bones performances (technically speaking) were captured much better and with much more connection than these.

Actually, Bob Dylan should hire people to snatch up all of these copies of Renaldo and Clara and have them destroyed. My interest in this came from seeing bits of it on Utube. This is more than enough to see and understand this film. Don't waste your money for anything more.

Dylan needs to stick with what he is best at: writing and performing music-period.

This did teach me something though. Just because something is out-of-print may not mean it is particularly valuable--it could be just lousy and that is why it is no longer available.

Reviewed by Sedonalady on 14th September 2007

After some thought I must dive in here and go with the full five stars. Sure, the concert footage is incredibly energetic, and yes, I did have to watch the film in two sittings because I don't get four hour chunks of free time these days - but these are not, in my estimation, what makes this a five star DVD. If you are going to really understand the public persona of the man who erased the boundary between high art and personal expression then this disc is essential. Granted I might not sit down and watch it every staurday night, but that does not take anything away from it. Sure, it is meandering, obtuse, and at times shadowy, but who cares? When you mine for diamonds as you dig through life you have to sift through a lot of dirt. There is a stunning accuracy to this DVD if you look at it just so...

Nearly ten years after Dylan fell off his light speed journey to artistic truth, this film ties up a few loose ends rather nicely. It is pure gold to see him sitting in a literal and figurative triangle in a bedroom with Sara and Joan Baez whilst they pelt him with demands for 'the truth' - all the while with sprinkles of musical tidbits such as a huantingly naked piano version of 'Sad eyed lady of the lowlands' and 'Diamonds and Rust' wafting through.

The film builds a beautiful bridge between the near mythical pre mass media beatnik 'on the Road' movement that launched Dylan in the early days and the realized dream of living it. This DVD documents the way faithfully with the surrealism that any dream must contain. Allen Ginsberg's role in the movie is like a lynchpin. He is living proof that where we are now (at least in 1975) is merely the exploded, post 60's psychodelia rip the lid off the can place that was always there, bubbling beneath the surface of the 'I like Ike' thin black tie 50's.

I don't think that Dylan had anyway to get from the days of the thin wild mercury sound through to the never ending tour without going through the Rolling Thunder Revue, and yes, without documenting it all as Renaldo and Clara. I think that the project was a necessary release from the past and luanch point to the future for him. I think he put forth great thought and effort into the filming, and particulary the editing of this project. I do not think it is lip service to compare the tenor of this movie to the movement of a great Dylan song. Sure, it ambles a bit - but there is a certain beautiful precision to how the pieces are fitted together to craft a coherent statement.

I would like to thank Mary for her generosity of spirit for sharing this disc with me.

Reviewed by c6sailer on 21st September 2005

This film doesn't follow any particular story or pattern , but it is definitly entertaining! The film gives a real taste of on the road with Dylan during the rolling thunder tour. Reading 'on the road' gives an insight into some characteres in the film which makes it more interesting when watching. Thumbs up , Get it!

Reviewed by hattycarroll on 16th July 2005

Overall I find the film highly unsympathetic (same with "M&A", by the way; they´re quite similar in this regard). It´s mainly the way in which it brings everyone in it to the heel and especially women. There´s a smell of abuse about it overall that I find pretty disgusting.
A scene near the beginning in which an obviously mentally disabled man repeatedly shouts out "I am Tony Curtis" I remember as especially undignified and ugly.
The chaotic side of the film, the way it uses time and the protagonist´s differing identities is rather worthwhile, though. Some elements that come straight out of the cinéma vérité (the interviews on that street in New York) are successfully dense and integrated into interesting contexts that are seldomly dealt with. On these points the music also makes most sense for me.
And yes, the very end of the film (two young guys telling each other about their dreams, Dylan laying on a floor and waking up, a crooner singing in a night club) is beautiful and rich.
Since failure isn´t a bad thing in itself but oftentimes a neccessary part of artistic creation, the film is worth seeing of course. To get into focus how far it fails and - most importantly - ON WHAT, would be a very worthwhile task, I imagine.

Reviewed by honestwithme on 07th August 2004

Good DVD, lousy movie.

Fans will enjoy the concert performances, gathered from the Rolling Thunder Tour, starting with When I Paint My Masterpiece over the opening credits.

The film itself is a mess. Ronnie Hawkins plays Dylan, Joan Baez plays a prostitute, and Dylan plays harmonica. After watching this film a few times, I still don't know who is who nor do I care. It's hard to follow this mammoth movie from start to finish in one sitting. Frankly, I tend to jump to the concert clips or skip to quieter moments such as Dylan walking through Old Quebec City and chilling out in a bistro.

The transfer from British TV is strong and clear, though the visuals fall far short of razor-sharp. Audio is a good mono with slight noise, but nothing to distract the viewer.

I'm giving this 4/5 stars, out of musical and historical value rather than cinematic quality. This ain't DON'T LOOK BACK, however, RENALDO AND CLARA captures a generous slice of Dylan in his mid-70s peak that is worth watching.

Reviewed by AL69 on 05th August 2004

Strange film, great concert footage, very clear picture quality (clearer, in my view, than the screenshots shown), a chance to experience the Rolling Thunder Review as Dylan documented it himself. Meandering, mythical, and downright odd, sure, part home movie and part acid trip, and some say this is the visual equivilent of a Dylan song. With crisp imagery and sound, the film rambles from Plymouth Rock to Jack Kerouac's grave, from beatnik poetry to the prison press conference of Ruben "Hurricane" Carter, with all sorts of strange bits of Sara Dylan and Baez and the entire stoned crew playing roles, a la Commedia dell-arte. Recorded from British television, on two discs.

Reviewed by warehouseeyes on 23rd July 2004