This isn't the whole story of Patti Smith, just a snapshot, a sweet little visual poem. She gave the best rock n' roll show I ever went to! And I grew up during the rock n roll era, 60's/70's. Here is a taste, a live recording from WBAI 1975, :When the Hunter Gets Captured by the Game" hope the link still works :-) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOIuFbrHx24
As a doc, it has no strenght, but as a portrait of her day-to-day life it's very appealing. Naturally, it could've been more investigative (I missed more Chelsea and Robert stuff), but watching Patti Smith, part woman, part God, talking about her life, memoirs and Art, is never too much. And the movie brings some nice live performances and some beautifully shot scenes-- those on Coney Island were really something.
Sebring has no interest to explain Patti Smith, to interpret her life and work or to narrate biographical events in chronological order. Instead he presents a manifold mosaic of visual fragments and music together with permanent autocommentaries. The result is the intimate portrait of a remarkable artist that shows a lot of private (and vulnerable) sides as well as an angry political person.
Beautifully filmed portrait of an iconic artist, a film of lilting visions moving beyond the "usual" rock documentary format. It's doc form magically fitting it's subject, floating cinematography transcending time, subjects wiggling into frames sparking visions unseen before. Her raw and mesmerizing croon gives me the chills as I seep into the abyss.
This film did not seem as if it covered 10 years, except in her beginning outline of her public life. So I felt it somewhat simplified it. And that is my whole impression of this doc. Simplified or trivialized, in many ways. Unfocused. I don't really appreciate her poetry as much as many poets in her circle. I do like her music, however, which makes her poetry more accessible to me. Nicely shot, not so edited.
There is a good amount of truly beautiful moments in the film, and they nearly make up for some of the more staged shots (think: Smith staring pensively out a window or "listlessly" singing to a cat). Worth a watch if you want to know the title character better, though you may be disillusioned by her in the end.