Wednesday, October 21, 2009
oh patti patti. do the watusi.
Last night I watched Patti Smith: Dream of Life. I also watched it the night before that. It is really intimate, and yet still a performance; it is a documentary made in collaboration between director and performer over the course of a decade. It is weird and kind of messy and often really beautiful. People appear and disappear inexplicably, age and change dramatically over the course of the film. Relationships remain mysterious, lovers are hinted at but not announced. At different points throughout the film, I alternately admired Patti, wished she would stop being so pretentious, applauded her, mourned for her, was impressed by her, and couldn't believe how good her hair looked in the 70's (I got up and chopped at my own bangs while I was watching it the first time). I also couldn't help but notice how charming and girlish she is when she's tickled by something, how appealing. You wouldn't think that such a giggle would come out of her, but there it is. So disarming.
And then there are the clips of her performing live, which are the nucleus of the story. However close you might come to her, however vulnerable she might seem, as soon as she steps on the stage she becomes the wild, raw, raucus and incredible performer that she is. And the music. It's just so good. Overall, I came away thinking that whatever she needs to do to keep willing herself into being the dreamer and the poet and the force that she is, so be it.
Long live Patti, survivor supreme.