In Bob Dylan Revealed, due out May 1st on DVD, director Joel Gilbert –who appears midway through the film with fluffy hair and goatee, looking not unlike the subject himself– delves into the the phases of Dylan’s five decade career in a series of interviews with those close to the artist and those affected by him.
A large portion of the film is devoted to the major changes and events in Dylan’s life: His first electric tour where the band was roundly boo’ed, featuring footage from drummer Mickey Jones; the Rolling Thunder tour and Dylan’s ultimately successful efforts on behalf of boxer Rubin “Hurricane” Carter; Dylan’s foray into filmmaking; his famous and brief conversion to Christianity and subsequent re-embracing of Judaism, and his ongoing musical recreation.
We get to visit backstage as violinist Scarlet Rivera discusses what it was like to be the only woman during a tour, and as bassist Rob Stone talks about his firing over a woman on a later tour.
Earlier in the film, Gilbert explores Dylan’s post-electric tour motorcycle accident as a potential cover-up for rehab, and throughout Bob Dylan Revealed peels back the layers of the musical icon’s personality to look at the personal forces that shaped his creativity.
Much time is devoted to Dylan’s then-shocking conversion to evangelical Christianity through the Vineyard ministry (we explored the controversial roots of the Vineyard with director David DiSabitino in Lonnie Frisbee: The Life and Death of a Hippie Preacher). While Dylan’s album from that period, Slow Train Coming, produced the Grammy award winning song “Gotta Serve Somebody,” Dylan had another crisis of faith and rediscovered Judaism, appearing on the 25th annual Chabad telethon in a yarmulke and playing the recorder – and it’s awesome to see that moment captured.
Dylan’s music and mythos shaped the role of the singer/songwriter as a force for social change, while his mysterious, aloof ethos is a touchstone of cool for musicians and hipsters alike. Gilbert’s documentary gives us a rare look at Dylan just in time for his 70th birthday. Capturing the time periods and the change in musical scenes and the music business, Bob Dylan Revealed is a must-see piece of filmmaking for anyone interested in rock n roll, Dylan fan or not.