“Patti Smith: Dream of Life” Review Roundup

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Patti Smith Portrait by Steven SebringWednesday night’s POV broadcast of Patti Smith: Dream of Life (9 pm most PBS stations, check local listings) has been generating a lot of critical acclaim in the press and online. Sign On San Diego‘s Remote Possibilities blog names it a “TV Pick of the Week” and part of a “Genius Blowout” when coupled with tonight’s American Masters biography of Louisa May Alcott. Union Tribune staff writer Karla Peterson gushes that together the stories of these “groundbreaking women” represent “oodles of joy.”

The New York TimesManohlia Dargis reviewed Dream of Life back in August 2008 when it opened at New York City’s Film Forum. She wrote: “Created over a heroic 11 years . . . a lovely . . . first feature. . . . Mr. Sebring creates a structure for the film in which past and present seem to flow effortlessly and ceaselessly into each other.”

Toronto Globe and Mail film reviewer Liam Lacey says the film “paints a portrait of a defiantly creative life.” Salon‘s Andrew O’Hehir writes this “dazzling, dizzying documentary” is “frequently beautiful and intermittently haunting and could be called a meditation on aging and mortality, an intimate study of a peculiar variety of fame and a portrait of a genuinely remarkable person.”

Patti Smith appeared this past weekend on NPR’s Studio 360. Host Kurt Anderson remarked “if there is one person who embodies rock and roll in its purest form, it is Patti Smith.” Listen to the broadcast and special extended cut of their interview on the Studio 360 website.

And don’t forget to add your own review to the mix at the POV website. We’ll compile a list of of our favorite viewer reviews later this week. Tell us what you think of the film and what Patti Smith means to you.

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  • http://www.ellner.info Michael Ellner

    FOREIGNID: 22332
    Thank you for screening “Patti Smith: Dream of Life” POV!
    Sebring’s visual masterpiece was a moving and intimate look at the Patti Smith behind Patti Smith.
    5 Stars.

  • Kathy Guenther

    FOREIGNID: 22349
    I so want to meet this strong, clear, passionate woman. I have always been a fan of her music, but now, after watching this film, I see that she is one of my soulmates. Her children are lucky to have such a role model. Her poetry and voice fill me.

  • Martha Moffett

    FOREIGNID: 22371
    I did not take my eyes off the screen during this program. What an authentic personality! And consistent–look at her style, look at her haircut–over years. I saw her at Max’s Kansas City 35 years ago–she is as fresh and exciting and immediate today. Thank you for bringing this artist to my house!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/kingsnake/sets/ Ron Baker

    FOREIGNID: 22376
    This was some of the best programming I’ve ever seen on PBS. I have been a long-time fan of Patti Smith’s music, but now I have so much more respect for her as a human being. I’m into photography and found that part of her life particularly interesting. Patti has lived such full and diverse live. Thanks POV.

  • Larry

    FOREIGNID: 22390
    This documentary, beautifully and artfully done, brought me to tears (quite literally). I’ve been a fan of Patti since the mid-70′s, and I was left craving for more…I could have watched for hours and hours had the documentary been that long. The sweet memories of my teenage-hood and early twenties were shaken loose, and I was in absolute awe. Mr. Sebring, congratulations on capturing the essence of Patti. Thank you for bringing me two hours of joy on a depressing day. And of course, Patti, you are universally loved — just because of who you are…

  • Miriam Childs

    FOREIGNID: 22408
    I have always respected Patti Smith’s place in rock history, but I’m not very familiar with her music. This documentary portrayed a very thoughtful, down to earth person whose approach to art and life is inspirational. Patti can count me as a new fan!

  • Sandy Spielman

    FOREIGNID: 22443
    Awesome film , watched it on MPT out of Owings Mills , Md. Boy her music takes me back- A legend, a jewel in the history of music. Kudos for the documenting her life with grace.

  • http://www.andrewsaladino.com/websites.html Andrew Saladino

    FOREIGNID: 22512
    Absolutely amazing! One of the best things I’ve seen in a while. Since I stumbled upon this article, I haven’t stopped listening to her music.