Dream of Life (Palm Pictures)
Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., Dec. 26, 2008
Patti SmithDream of Life (Palm Pictures)
Dream of Life is a beautiful film. Not 8½ beautiful, but it could double as Patti Smith's New Yawk version of Fellini. First-time filmmaker and former fashion photographer Steven Sebring got a decade-plus of amazing footage with the usually camera-shy poet/musician, which results in a collaborative dream sequence narrated by her. The beauty's in Smith – she's a creature that demands studying – so when Sebring lingers on her, the mutual respect is palpable. The two obviously warmed to each other over the years, so when Smith takes Sebring to see her aged parents in Jersey, it's rather sweet. We see her grief, her friendships, and her son and daughter with late MC5 guitarist Fred Smith grow from awkward adolescents on the road to musicians playing with mom. Then comes her neorealist moment, reflecting in a hotel elevator on the overused phrase "rock icon": "I always think of Mount Rushmore."