Dont Look Back


In 1965, documentary filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker (Monterey Pop, The War Room) accompanied Bob Dylan to England to make a film about the celebrated singer/songwriter’s British concert tour. At the time, no one could have known how fortuitous Pennebaker’s timing would prove to be. Within a few months of this tour, Dylan would forsake his role as The Conscience of Folk Music to pick up a Fender Stratocaster and play rock and roll. Within a year, Dylan would suffer a serious motorcycle accident that would put him out of commission for nearly 18 months. Shot with a handheld camera in gorgeous black-and-white, Dont Look Back (the apostrophe in “Don’t” was deliberately dropped from the title by the filmmaker) follows the always-mesmerizing Dylan from limo to hotel room to stage as he relaxes with friends, antagonizes the press and deals with managers (and not always pleasantly … this is definitely not a fawning cinematic love letter to a rock and roll deity).. Pennebaker also captured several brilliant solo performances by the enigmatic superstar, as well as appearances by such ‘60s musicians as Joan Baez, Donovan and Alan Price. Widely considered to be the first modern rockumentary, Pennebaker’s influential, illuminating and electrifying portrait of an artist on the cusp of a radical career change not only forever redefined the relationship between musicians and filmmakers, it also expanded the possibilities of documentary filmmaking, as well. (Dir. by D.A. Pennebaker, 1967, USA, 96 mins., Not Rated) Digital