The Other Side Of The Mirror: Live At Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965 Review

artist: Bob Dylan date: 11/28/2007 category: dvd

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Bob Dylan: The Other Side Of The Mirror: Live At Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965
Release Date: October 30, 2007
Few performances in history are as legendary - or as controversial - as Bob Dylan's 1965 appearance at the Newport Folk Festival. By putting you in the audience for Dylan's Newport performances from 1963 through that pivotal set in 1965, Academy Award-winning director Murray Lerner's The Other Side Of The Mirror captures Dylan's metamorphosis from the folk family's best-kept secret to rock's fiercely confrontational poet who would electrify an entire nation and become the voice of his generation.
 Sound: 8
 Content: 6
 Production Quality: 7
 Overall Impression: 7
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overall: 7
The Other Side Of The Mirror: Live At Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965 Reviewed by: sweetpeasuzie, on november 28, 2007
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: The latest documentary on the rise of Bob Dylan is called The Other Side Of The Mirror: Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965, directed by Murray Lerner and released by Columbia Records/Sony BMG Entertainment. The sound quality of the film is good. Most of the DVD/CD ROM features Dylan in concert at the huge Rhode Island shindig, Newport Folk Festival, for the summers of 1963, 1964, and 1965. Dylan was 22 years old in 1963 and his voice and guitar playing was still green. The film captures the simplicity of Dylan's music and his bashfulness in front of large crowds In 1963, as he seems unsure where to stand and sit, grabbles with holding his vocal pitch levels, and he plays his acoustic guitar with shaky strumming. The documentary feels like a genuine article with little cutting of such spontaneous shots. The short clip that Lerner provides of Johnny Cash singing at the 1964 Festival is vintage and Cash's sounds quality if magnificent. Unfortunately, this was not a documentary on both Cash and Dylan so Lerner only showed a snippet of Cash's performance. The DVD includes performances with Dylan and Joan Baez which had the young collegiate crowds hypnotized. She, along with the vocal groups Peter, Paul and Mary, and The Freedom Singers sang background vocals for Dylan on the number Blowin' In The Wind at the 1964 Festival. The sound quality for these performances are good, but the best sound or maybe the best performance was Dylan's set at the 1965 Festival where he played the electric guitar and acoustic harmonica. The sound quality captured every frilly nuance and chord dynamic in the music and shows Dylan's self-confidence as a performer and songwriter. // 8

Content: Most of the content in the film is concert footage all shot in black and white, which gives it a classic appeal. Besides the concert footage, Lerner also provides an interview with Joan Baez talking about the audiences and how Dylan's music is able to connect with them. The film shows an outside view of Baez's and Dylan's relationship, even beginning the film with Joan Baez making a speech that presents Bob Dylan to the stage. She says, Every period, every time has it's heroesThis is a young man who grew out of a need. He came here, he came to be as he is because things needed saying, and the young people were the ones who wanted to say them and they wanted to say them in their own way. He somehow had an ear on his generation. I don't have to tell you. You know him, he's yours, Bob Dylan. And then there is a loud cheer coming from the crowd. The footage gives a sense that Baez was Dylan's tutor and confidante through 1963 and 1964, but he clearly shows his independence from her by his performance in 1965. He grew out of her by then and is performing an electric set with The Paul Butterfield Blues Band as opposed to his previous acoustic folk sets in 1963 and 1964. It is a like a star has been set on ablaze and the film shows that progression. // 6

Production Quality: The production makes the film dated. It looks like it was shot in the 1960s which again gives it a classic appeal. The effects that Lerner uses are slight like coming up close to Dylan's face and then panning out across the audience. What makes the production good is that Lerner keeps it focused on Dylan whether it is Johnny Cash showing his respects to Dylan or talking to audience members and finding out their opinions about Dylan. Some of them saw Dylan as a massive force in American society and others expressed that Dylan was overrated. During the concert footage, the spotlight is on Dylan and anyone else caught in the shot is accidental. Dylan may have had an ear on his generation but Lerner only had eyes for Dylan in the film. The disc also includes a current interview with Lerner who talks about what was going on among America's youth during the early '60s and how music played a role in making change happen. He explains in this segment on the disc about social changes that were being initiated and how Dylan's music reflected those underground movements. America's youth gained confidence in themselves at the same rate that Dylan had done, so it Is a generation that has grown up with him and will always think of him as a massive force in American society. // 7

Overall Impression: Overall the DVD/CD ROM is good for people of Dylan's generation, although younger generations will find the documentary informative, especially Lerner's interview which explains why he wanted to film the Newport Folk Festivals during the early '60s. Lerner described the 1950s as an age of conformity and the '60s sprouted an age of nonconformity, and the Newport Folk Festival was at the heart of this movement. He tells that America's youth saw Dylan as a mirror reflection of them and he wanted his documentary to show the other side of that mirror. He showed the simple man that Bob Dylan was, going from a bashful yelp to a confident star. Dylan's own confidence was built up alongside the confidence of his generation, creating a unbreakable link that is still present. Lerner's documentary The Other Side Of The Mirror: Live At The Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965 shows that bond which was formed in the early '60s and still holds strong today. // 7

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