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Patti Smith: Dream of Life (2008)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Music | 2 April 2008 (France)
An intimate portrait of poet, painter, musician and singer Patti Smith that mirrors the essence of the artist herself.

Director:

Steven Sebring
Nominated for 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Patti Smith ... Herself: vocals and clarinet
Lenny Kaye Lenny Kaye ... Himself: guitar
Oliver Ray Oliver Ray ... Himself: guitar
Tony Shanahan Tony Shanahan ... Himself: bass and vocals
Jay Dee Daugherty Jay Dee Daugherty ... Himself: drums
Jackson Smith Jackson Smith ... Himself
Jesse Smith Jesse Smith ... Himself
Tom Verlaine ... Himself
Sam Shepard ... Himself
Philip Glass ... Himself
Benjamin Smoke Benjamin Smoke ... Himself
Flea ... Himself
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Storyline

An intimate portrait of poet, painter, musician and singer Patti Smith that mirrors the essence of the artist herself.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [Japan] | Palm Pictures | See more »

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 April 2008 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Untitled Patti Smith Project See more »

Filming Locations:

Detroit, Michigan, USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$9,993, 10 August 2008

Gross USA:

$30,918

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$81,113
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was created over 11 years. See more »

Quotes

Patti Smith: It's really funny when people ask you about that - How does it feel to be a rock icon? When they say that, I always think of Mt. Rushmore.
See more »

Connections

References Bob Dylan: Dont Look Back (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

Spell
Written by Allen Ginsberg and Oliver Ray
Performed by Patti Smith
Courtesy of Sony BMG Music Entertainment
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Patti Smith is Fascinating, But This Documentary Is Unfocused and Wandering
17 July 2008 | by D_BurkeSee all my reviews

"Patti Smith: Dream Of Life" was a film I saw at the 11th Annual Maine International Film Festival on July 16, 2008.

This film will without a doubt appeal mostly to Patti Smith fans. Those who don't know that much about her, and want to find out more, may want to buy one of her earlier albums (such as "Horses") or read about her on the Internet first. I say this only because the parts of this documentary when we hear Patti Smith in her own words are very well done, and at many times artistic. However, the movie loses its momentum within the second part when the director seems to be only interested in how Smith acts backstage. This latter subject takes up approximately 60% of this 109 minute movie, and it had me checking my watch constantly as I sat in the theater.

For the record, I have heard some of Patti Smith's records and generally like her music, but I don't count myself a big fan of hers which may be why I found myself bored through some of the movie. Truth be told, she is probably one of the most devoted musicians of the last 40 years, not to mention the most devoted and spirited female artist. She may not have a following as big as Bob Dylan or the Rolling Stones, but she has influenced countless alternative bands including R.E.M., Marilyn Manson, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Talking Heads, and other influential artists.

In regards to this documentary, the parts that truly shine are when Patti Smith speaks to the audience and recounts her influences, which include various poets not to mention Bob Dylan. I also liked some of the backstage footage of her interacting with her bandmates and even sometimes with her children. For such a musical legend, she is very personable and incredibly down to earth. She also is well aware of where she came from, as evidenced from the interesting part of the documentary where she visits her parents.

There are other great gems in this documentary, such as when she makes a live tirade against President George W. Bush. After hearing that speech, it made me wish that more antiwar protesters were that spirited.

You'll notice that so far, I've given Patti Smith a lot of compliments, all of which are well deserved. This documentary did her justice, and I will give it credit for that. However, it was just too unfocused for me, and those great moments were just thrown in there with a whole lot of rubble. The film could have truly benefited with some better editing and more finite organization. As a result, by the second half of the film, the momentum is completely lost and the film just drags.

It appeared that the filmmakers didn't know whether they wanted to make a true portrait of an artist or a concert feature. If they wanted to make a concert feature, they could have taken a hint from Martin Scorsese, who directed such great concert films as "The Last Waltz" and "Shine A Light". A concert feature wouldn't have been a bad idea either. Patti Smith fans would have enjoyed it, and those who aren't familiar with her work would be introduced to her great songs, energetic stage presence, and appealing personality. If the filmmakers had any inclination on a focal point to base this documentary around, it would have made for a far more energetic take on the first true alternative artist.

With all that said, it's difficult for me to recommend this picture. Die-hard Patti Smith fans may like it, but better editing would have brought this documentary to greater heights.


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