Dream of Life is a new documentary about Patti Smith directed by photographer Steven Sebring. Dream has already won an Excellence in Cinematography Award at the Sundance Film Festival where it was hailed as the definitive portrait of the singer. This is an extraordinary compliment, given Smith's expansive history in music, alone. Dating back to Horses, her striking 1975 debut album, there's plenty of ground to cover in her professional adventures and there's also public interest in her secretive personal life.
Patti Smith, "Free Money" live at CBGB:
Filmed over the course of eleven years, the documentary contains live performances, photographs, interviews and her art. This mixed-media approach is the only method that would befit a mixed-media life. Smith is known as a singer, musician, artist, activist, poet, painter, feminist, revolutionary, writer, hippie, punker and goddess, and it is quite a task to present all of these elements in a standard-length film.
The biopic provides an account of her evolution as an artist during a time that most others at her age would be retiring. As an artist Smith is still prolific, allowing her love of words and history to permeate all of her other projects. In fact, it seems as though her prominence has only grown throughout the years. Her singing performances are still transcendent. In concert she seems to tap into some sort of witchy shaman vibe, and behind the power of her presence on the stage and a bright smile the 61-year-old seems both eternally youthful and positively invincible.
The film screens as part of the Webster Film Series at 8 p.m. from Thursday, October 2, to Saturday, October 4.
-- Jaime Lees
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