Bob Dylan, the metaphysician who diagnosed the subterranean homesick blues, is 70 today. May he stay forever young.
From Don't Look Back (1967), D.A. Pennebaker's documentary attempt to unwrap the enigma inside the riddle of Dylan's troubadour persona, to I'm Not There (2007), Todd Haynes' impressionistic reconstruction of the many lives of Dylan, starring Heath Ledger as the romantic figure, Cate Blanchett as the electric musician and Richard Gere as the outlaw artist, Dylan has denied and defied attempts to simplify him or classify him.
In between these two film landmarks are Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973), featuring Dylan as shy outlaw named Alias, Renaldo and Clara (1978), Dylan's broody account of his Rolling Thunder Review, Masked and Anonymous (2003), Larry Charles' bizarro film starring Dylan as a folkie recluse living in Mexico and No Direction Home (2005), Martin Scorsese's elliptical portrait of the enigma.
(For my money Dylan is a more vital presence in Scorsese's The Last Waltz , a concert film of The Band's last show, singing "Baby, Let Me Follow You Down.")