Shock Corridor Cinema presents a Rare Screening of Bob Dylan's Renaldo & Clara (1976)
Shot during Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue Tour during the fall of 1975 (see the recently released bootleg series, Vol. 5 recording), Renaldo & Clara marks Dylan's debut and subsequent retirement as filmmaker. The film blends intimate concert footage with play acting by tour participants, scrambled into an elusive narrative that can only be described as Nashville on acid. While difficult to follow (a breakdown of the film's thematic stream will be provided at the venue) the narrative strands attempt to upset rumours that were circulating at the time regarding Dylan's illegitimate affair with Joan Baez, supposedly resulting in Dylan's breakup with his wife Sarah. An additional project here - one dylan has explored throughout his career - is the subversion of his popular image as folk troubadore, achieved by inserting Ronnie Hawkins as the "actor" who plays Dylan (a strategy soon to be explored by Todd Haynes in his upcoming bio-film of Dylan). Beyond this "trickery" there are some fabulous scenes that reveal intimate moments from the tour: Dylan visiting the jail cell of accused murderer and heavyweight champion Reuben "Hurricane" Carter, a subject Dylan adamantly defended throughout the 70s; Allen Ginsberg performs an extended reading of his opus "kaddish" to elderly participants of a Mahjong convention; Dylan and Ginsberg visit the grave site of Jack Kerouac in Mass.
When this film originally debuted, it was attacked by critics and was swiftly pulled from distribution, relegated to obscurity. Still, Dylan fans and cinephiles continue to hunt down copies on the internet and other trading outlets. this is a rare opportunity to see a quality copy of this film on the big screen.
Disclaimer: Renaldo & Clara has a rather long running time and given its unique narrative arch, the film can be viewed/enjoyed from any point in the film - do not hesitate to come late to this screening.