U2 worked up the crowd on Saturday night with their concert film U23D. Wearing the 3D glasses gave new meaning to the word vertigo. Bono was there, hanging with his pal Al Gore and Sundance founder Robert Redford. The movie brings you pore close to the band.
But then I saw Patti Smith: Dream Of Life, a documentary eleven years in the making that brings you in artful proximity to the soul of the godmother of punk. Fashion photographer turned director Steven Sebring creates a raw tone poem that is less a concert film than a odyssey into Smith’s creative essence. And Sebring used only one camera. Smith joked to me this morning that her film could be called Patti Smith-1D. It fits right into this fest’s independent spirit. No flash, but genuine scrappy substance. Smith confesses to being a film freak, with her friend Michael Stipe as her sometime guide. Her eyes light up when she mentions silent film and the work of Carl Dreyer. In conversation, Smith is intimate and warm. None of the spitting and guitar-bashing temper is in evidence. Tonight I’ll watch her take the stage live in her own personal three dimensions. Wouldn’t miss it.