Sunday, January 03, 2010

Patti Smith: Dream of Life (First Reprise)

Finally got to see all of Steven Sebring's Patti Smith: Dream of Life (2008), shot over more than a decade. I liked it and found it compelling. However, if you are not familiar with any of Patti Smith's work, I'd advise starting with some of her music, maybe her version of "Gloria," "Dancing Barefoot," "Because the Night," big bang tracks like that. I doubt this film would make any new converts without some background. But if you are already a Patti Smith fan, definitely go for it.

The film begins with Smith's narration: "Life is an adventure of our own design intersected by fate and a series of lucky and unlucky accidents." The rest of the film shows in the case of Patti Smith how this statement is true. She then traces the basics from her birth in Chicago after World War II, her family's move to Philadelphia in 1949 and to South Jersey in 1957; her working in a factory as a teenager and moving on to New York City in 1967; moving into the Chelsea Hotel with Robert Mapplethorpe in 1969; her 70s recording career; and moving to Detroit in 1979, where she married Fred Sonic Smith (formerly of the MC5) and had kids Jackson and Jesse (at least one born in St. John Hospital, she later notes). Among the deaths of others close to her over the years, Sonic died in 1994. "We buried Fred in his beloved Detroit beneath ancient ship markers. It has become for us all a place of pilgrimage, of memory, of return . . ."

(To be continued).

Today's Rune: Warrior.


ivan@c said...

I never got Patti Smith, even back in the seventies.
But if she has an observation like Life is an adventure of our own design intersected by fate and a series of lucky and unlucky accidents, then I'm very interested in her as a straight (though she is not) writer. Yes, yes, it is like that.

Erik Donald France said...

Ivan, right on. It's true.