No Direction Home is a documentary which traces the life of Bob Dylan, the famous American songwriter, singer, artist, and writer. The documentary was produced by Martin Scorsese. The film focuses on the period between Dylan’s arrival in New York in January 1961 and his “retirement” from touring following his motorcycle accident in July 1966. The 2 minute sequence edited by Thelma Schoonmaker that opens has left an unforgettable impression of narrative style in documentary.
It begins with archive footage of Bob Dylan’s performance. The footage was not edited with any kind of effect in order to remain its original. Both Schoonmaker and Scorsese were really good at expressing human emotion at the beginning of this scene. This generates a “young Bob Dylan” with full of enthusiasm, he was singing on the stage with a guitar and a harmonica around his neck. It then followed by a cross dissolve effect of a black and white image, between a MCU of the tree branches and a WS of the forest covered by heavy snow with a silence.
Bob Dylan started to talk about his past from here. The picture of an old house was attached with “Many Years Earlier” to emphasise his interview in the second part of this documentary. His folk music was played along in the background. Bob Dylan stated that he was about 10 when he first found the guitar, when he first played guitar, when he heard music on the big mahogany radio
that had the 78” turntable, followed by a video of a turnable. It was really interesting when Dylan mentioned the song “Drifting Too Far From The Shore”, the song as well as was played in the background at the same time. And I guess that was the moment he made decision to step into his music career. Schoonmaker used Dylan’s archive material to mix with his interview.
In the third part of the scene, a video of a main street with the sign “Iron Mines 1 Mile North” with fast tempo music in the background. Dylan started talking about his home town, “what happens to a town after its livelihood is gone, it decays and blows away.” The scene continues with footage from the mines with low tempo background music.
Dylan talks about mining company and farmland, it was a really hard summer time and cold in winter. Dylan even said people did not have clothes.
“The pit was on there, out of the limited of the town. You could be a rebel, it was so cold there. There was not any philosophy, idiom, ideology to really go against.”
The final part of the scene was the pictures of the town and his father’s electrical store. Dylan discussed his father’s store and the first job he had was to sweep up the store. He learned the “discipline of hard work and the merits of employment.”
I guess we will see how Bob Dylan grow up and be a successful music artist in the upcoming movie. The two minute sequence lets us know his childhood and how he feels he was “born to the wrong parents”. It is expected to show more about his family, his home town, and his life and his personal philosophy of life through music.