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Window Glaring Glimpse

In the director’s commentary for his film Don’t Look Back, D.A. Pennebaker shares a story of observing Bob Dylan backstage with Alan Price. Price had just recently left The Animals and Dylan is shown asking Price for an explanation for his exit. What follows, according to Pennebaker, is a “shared moment” between musicians in which both utilize their craft to express their inner feelings. With Dylan on guitar and Price at the piano, a sudden shift occurs and conversation becomes music. Dylan strums a blues riff while Price accompanies him with a blues piano part and vocals.

Pennebaker reflects on a particular look that Dylan gives the camera as notification that his camera was intruding. To Pennebaker the look communicates a warning, a statement saying that he was privy to a special moment.

The moment is a single example of the many facets of Dylan’s genius and mystique. Seen through the eyes of an admirer, it is difficult to perceive objective observation and subjective framing. Though known for his sparse production and journalistic-like style, Pennebaker appreciates Dylan and clearly admires his work. No matter what his opinion, the film persists as testament to craft. Glimpsing into this moment between Dylan and Price is a brief glimpse into the magic of creative work. Was Dylan telling this to Pennebaker or was some other force, perhaps the creative muse, glimpsing out towards the outsider. Odd enough that we are witness to the work of art being created through another piece of art. Via film we see the music.

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