#2 – No Direction Home

The opening scene of the Martin Scorsese’s 2005 film ‘No Direction Home’ simply told audience about Bob Dylan’s inspiration, hometown’s memory and thoughts to his father.

It showed the young Bob Dylan performing his classic song ‘Like a Rolling Stone’ on the stage in front of lots of audiences first. Many close up shots and mid shots are used to show Bob Dylan is enjoying his music. The use of low angle shots made viewers of the film look up at Bob Dylan to understand how charming he is on the stage.

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Then, the image of a house and trees outside came with the voice over of Bob Dylan, saying nobody can make time stand still. The title ‘Many Years Earlier’ told viewers the following content is about things happened long time ago in Bob Dylan’s life.

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Time ‘flowed’ from Bob Dylan’s childhood in the film. He started played guitar at the age of 10. The country record inspired the young Bob Dylan. Scorsese zoomed into an old house and Bob Dylan’s old pictures, and he used a footage of an old radio to present the old memory. In this part, background music was playing. The soft music guided viewers into Bob Dylan’s memory.

No direction home 02

The mid shot of Bob Dylan appeared next to emphasize how surprised he was when he first heard country music from the radio. The country record made hime feel like somebody else, he thought he was may be born with the wrong parents. Bob Dylan’s stops and thinking in the interview are kept in the film to show the real him.

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The next footage was showing Bob Dylan’s childhood residence, a mine city. Bob Dylan started talking about how he passed the cold winter at his hometown.

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With the footage of mining and miners, Bob Dylan talked about people in hometown couldn’t be a rebel or anything. They were very bland.

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Bob Dylan finally talked about his father and uncle, saying he supposed to learn his father’s discipline of hard work. His father used to work at an electric company. Old footages and newspaper are also used here.

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To sum up, the opening scene of ‘No Direction Home’ simply told audience about Bob Dylan’s inspiration, hometown’s memory and thoughts to his father.

I think the beginning scene have told us about the film editing style and flowing of the story in the rest of the film.

Similar to the beginning scene, Bob Dylan would continue his memorizing in front of the camera. Old images and footages would be used frequently to put viewers back to the old time, visualize the memory and increase credibility. Background music was added to make viewers fall into the memory easily.

As Scorsese used quite a lot close up and mid shots to focus on Bob Dylan’s emotions and eyes, the content of the film was mainly from his points of view. Bob Dylan would speak directly to viewers without hiding anything in the film.

The guitar, old radio, country record, hometown environment and his relationship with his dad were the first few things we knew about Bob Dylan’s childhood. I think those things were the hints left by Scorsese and the editor Thelma Schoonmaker for the rest of the film.


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