The best albums tell stories. Not always in a strictly narrative sense — unless we’re talking about something like The Wall — but, through whatever means, deal with a recurring set of ideas, concepts, conflicts, and the time in which they were recorded. Name a truly great collection of tunes; there’s probably something “else” going on there.
So I don’t remotely question the motives detailed in Variety‘s story, those being plans to craft a feature film based on Bob Dylan‘s 1975 classic Blood on the Tracks. An (often scolding) ten-song experience about love, commitment, and hatred for someone close to you, Tracks is also widely, widely cited as a public expurgation of marital strains with the songwriter’s then-wife, Sara Dylan. (Who’s also the obvious inspiration behind his great love song, “Sara,” and probably some bootleg recordings my brain can’t think of right now.) Songs such as “Tangled Up in Blue” — or, my God, the incredibly furious and accusatory “Idiot Wind” — tell compelling stories about finding love and, eventually, realizing it’s worth nothing, all while creating lucid, sometimes surreal imagery. So, yes, there is something cinematic to be mined here.
(Dylan, it should be said, often denies any connections to his marriage at the time; it’s nigh impossible to take this as truthful. Among other things, just look toward a famous quote from his son, Jakob: “The songs are my parents talking.”)
Rodrigo Teixeira and Fernando Loureiro of RT Pictures will be producing, and hope to find “a filmmaker who can create a classic drama with characters and an environment that capture the feelings that the album inspires in all fans.” No surprises there, though about, say, a million questions exist on my part, some of the primary being: Is this a straight narrative or a musical? In the case of the latter, do you devote chapters to each song? Is it a period piece? How do you handle “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts,” which Dylan once tried to make into a feature himself? Who is Richard Gere going to play?
It goes on and on — and some of them pertain to personal concerns, too — but I’m, nonetheless, already excited about what this project could yield. Maybe it’ll even get people to dust off their old copies — or, better yet, give Blood on the Tracks a spin for the first time.
How do you feel about a film finding its source in this album? Do you see any true potential here?