What we learned from I'm Not There

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What we learned from I'm Not There par Mind Map: What we learned from I'm Not There

1. the alienation of Dylan from the audience and so the alienation of ourselves

1.1. By drawing attention to Dylan's absence we destroy the pact made to believe that the film is reality and realise that we have no grasp on Dylan's true self and can never hope to. Bringing us to ask if we ever truly know someone.

1.1.1. By understanding Dylan's alienation through Haynes manipulations we come to see our own alienation and that there is no true self to understand.

2. The relationship between the artist & their audience.

2.1. 'I'm Not There' explores the difficult relationship shared between the artist & their audience i.e the 'Maggie's Farm' sequence / Newport sequence - can be taken as an attack on the audience / dependent on audiences perception of the artist. Also shows the consequences of an artist pushed too far as a result of audience expectations.

2.1.1. The exploration of this idea raises the question of the autonomous vs. committed artist, should we care whether artists care? Also highlights the problem of celebrity - i.e people believe they know them, yet all they really know is the representation / image - as a result this denies the celebrity of individuality - they instead become an image.

3. There is no such thing as a fixed identity

3.1. The editing makes the film very jarring as it quickly cuts between the different timelines. Haynes makes the film very obvious so that we are aware that the film is a construction. When Jude is lying unconscious on the floor there are quick, sudden insert shots of Billy. The shots change from black and white to colour. This is visually jarring to the audience and denies them emotional connection to any of the characters. Haynes is making a conscious effort to "really make us feel like [we] were living all of these lives at the same time".

3.1.1. Haynes wants the audience to understand that identity isn't something that is fixed or stable. It's always changing. He uses music and editing to disrupt the suspension of disbelief and make us aware that the film is a construction because Dylan, himself, is a construction.

3.2. Across the film Haynes has non diegetic music playing in the background of a majority of the scenes. The music is all performed by Bob Dylan himself which reinforces what the title suggests, that Dylan isn't there. This suggests that although biopics are usually created to allow the audience to leave understanding the figure at a new level, this particular "anti biopic" indicates that nobody can ever track him down or figure out his true identity as he has no fixed one.

4. New node

5. The multiplicity of identity

5.1. Through the use of intercutting, which makes you feel like you are living all of Dylan's different lives at once.

5.2. Through the use of celebrity in casting, it means it's impossible to see each of the respective aspects of Dylan's personality individually, when we look at Christian Bale, we always already see Batman, when we look at Cate Blanchett we always already see Galadriel, etc.

5.3. The use of music further enhances these ideas. Often in the film, we will see the various characters in a scene with non-diegetic music with Bob Dylan's voice seeing. This works to remind us that as much as this film is a biopic about Bob Dylan's life, Dylan is still "not there", we can hear his voice singing, but that just reminds us that the actors we are watching are just that, actors. None of them are him. So how could this film accurately depict Bob Dylan's essence if he's "not there"?

5.3.1. No one has a fundamental identity that can be understood. We have many different characteristics and styles that show up depending on the event , time or place. There is no fundamental truth to our identity we have a multiplicity of identities.

6. The difficult relationship between the artist and their art.

6.1. Through the use of voice over we get a further reminder of Dylan's absence from the art that his audience wants him to create. i.e. "Never create anything..."

6.1.1. society feels a sense of ownership over the artist because they spend money buying CDs etc to support the artists career. New node

7. Biopic as a genre

7.1. Destroys limitations of genre of biopics

7.1.1. builds on idea of identity and fluctuation of identity making it hard to truly understand one

7.1.2. multiple identities of Dylan

7.2. biopics are normally about a persons life. follows Bob Dylan as he moves through the different sides of his personality

7.2.1. shows some resemblance of linearity and how you are never truly free of your younger influences as you change and develope. e.g Rimbau is always affecting Dylan

7.2.2. cuts to Different sides of Dylan and voice over. resulting in the constant layering of identity

8. the expectations of society

8.1. what were societies expectations?

8.2. society of dylans time was a conformist society. everyone was closed-minded to new things and ideas. e.g when dylan changed from folk music to electric society went against him. they were upset when it seemed he no longer cared about his fans and the things happening in society. The public and media expected dylan to work for them instead of himself, talked about his every wrong move. shows that as humans we are evil

9. The multiplicity of self - there is not one single, fixed version of identity.

9.1. Symbolism of characters as the representations of the different identities of Bob Dylan - they all represent part of his biographical life as well as a wider idea. For example: Jude Quinn - biographically he represents Dylan's change to electric music, but on a more sophisticated level he represents the idea that no one can be changed by a song - that art is its own end, not a means to an end.

9.1.1. This goes further to show us it's not just Dylan that is confronted with the multiplicity of identity - but everyone is. We all have these conflicting multiple identities that represent different parts of our lives. Our identities aren't linear.

9.2. Through the non-diegetic music - when Dylan's music is being played over the top of the lives of the characters who represent him. This shows Dylan's 'not-there-ness' - the film can never fully track down or figure out Dylan's identity - because we are drawn to the fact that he is not there himself physically and can argue that the reason the film can never decide on one profound identity for Dylan is because he does not have a single fixed identity - but multiple.

10. Verfremdungseffekt (V effect)

10.1. Draws attention to the idea of the characters as symbols. being not only symbol of carious times in Dylan's life but also of a truth of humanity. e.g Robbie is Dylan's family life but also the inability to balance two lives and being what others want you to be.

10.2. Through the use of many actors with a dissimilarity between themselves and Dylan, we come to understand the lack of true self that Dylan has. Suggesting the identity is a palimpsest, which is a layering, so Dylan is a layering of identity instead of a linear or singular identity throughout his life.

10.2.1. This leads to the questioning of oneself, if there is one true self and whether you can truly know someone. This is a bleak thought as it reveals the alienation within our society and within our selves.

11. The effect of the media and the audience on the artist and artistic autonomy

11.1. Diegetic music - Maggie's Farm. In Jude's sequence diegetic music is