I'm Not There
208 Pages, 5.00 x 7.00 x 1.00 in, 25 b&w photos
Sales Date: November 14, 2023
An examination of director Todd Haynes and his Bob Dylan biopic.
As the first and only Bob Dylan “biopic,” I’m Not There caused a stir when released in 2007. Offering a surreal retelling of moments from Dylan’s life and career, the film is perhaps best known for its distinctive approach to casting, including Cate Blanchett and Marcus Carl Franklin, a Black child actor, as versions of Dylan though none of the characters bear his name. Greenlit by Bob Dylan himself, the film uses Dylan’s music as a score, a triumph for famed queer filmmaker Todd Haynes after encountering issues with copyright in previous projects.
Noah Tsika eloquently characterizes all the ways that Dylan and Haynes harmonize in their methods and sensibilities, interpreting the rule-breaking film as a biography that refuses chronology, disdains factual accuracy, flirts with libel, and cannibalizes Western cinema. Fitting the film’s inspiration, creation, and reception alongside its continuing afterlife, Tsika examines Dylan’s music in the film through the context of intellectual property, raising questions about who owns artistic material and artistic identities and how such material can be reused and repurposed. Tsika’s adventurous analysis touches on gender, race, queerness, celebrity, popular culture, and the law, while offering much to Haynes and Dylan fans alike.
Noah Tsika’s book is a delightful, adventurous, eye-opening read, and you needn’t be an aficionado of Dylan, of Haynes, or of I’m Not There to feel that way. Tsika has written an ideal study for newcomers and devotees—suggestive, sharp-eyed, vivacious, unpretentiously erudite, and persuasive in its claims while preserving the movie’s mysteries. ~Nick Davis, The Desiring-Image: Gilles Deleuze and Contemporary Queer Cinema
- Prologue: Flaming Quotations
- Introduction: 21st-Century Bedfellows
- Pursuing Opacity
- Violators Won’t Be Cited
- Mock the Documentary
- Playing On