Patti Smith: Dream of Life


Middle 40-60% of all time (see others with this rank)

Festival Year

2008 (click here to see all competition films from this year)


Documentary Competition

Non-Cast Credits

Margaret Smilow, Scott Vogel, Steven Sebring, Phillip Hunt, Angelo Corrao, Lin Polito, Margaret Crimmins, Greg Smith, Tony Volante


Life isnt some vertical or horizontal line. You have your own internal world, and its not neat.

Patti Smith

Not vertical nor horizontal nor neat, Dream of Life is a hypnotic plunge, a breathing collage of this legendary musician/poet/painter/activists philosophy and artistry that feels as if it sprang directly from her soul. A punk pioneer and spiritual child of Rimbaud, Blake, and Burroughs, Patti Smiths fierce poetry and rock music shook up New Yorks 1970s underground scene, and her work continues to be stirred organically by her rigorous mind, beloved artistic touchstones, and world events.

Shot over 11 years, Dream of Life travels Smiths mystical interior terrainthe ideas, losses, and memories she wrestles withas much as tracing her outward adventures. Layered with mesmerizing recitations, music, and narration, the fluid journey incorporates performances, graveyard pilgrimages and political rallies, archival nuggets, and vrit moments with her working-class parents, children, and friends. From raw, intimate sessions in her apartment to formidable incantations delivered to roaring crowds, Smiths expression is unmediated by pretense or artifice. Remarkablyand this may be the key to her artistic potencyshe doesnt reject death or construct polarities of good and bad. Instead, she embraces darkness and melancholy in a way thats liberating and also life affirming. As she manifests the transcendent in life, Dream of Life reaches for the ineffable in Patti Smith.


Caroline Libresco (see other films reviewed by the same reviewer)

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