Todd Haynes Offers His Bob Dylan

He knows it might not be your Bob Dylan

In watching the movie, there's a kind of generalized logic to why we're moving from one story to another and one style to another. But there are many people who will have never seen anything like this before. I think there are going to be a lot of people very angry with you over this for reasons that they can't quite explain. There's a kind of sneaky audacity to doing a movie like this—an "art movie" for a general public. You're prepared for a backlash, I trust?

Todd Haynes with Charlotte Gainsbourg on the set of I'm Not There
Todd Haynes with Charlotte Gainsbourg on the set of I'm Not There

I am, but I was prepared for a lot more of it than I've been receiving. You may have encountered resistance in conversations with some people you know, but the general reaction to the film has been good. I've been stunned at how positive people have been and that they've just let it all flow. But believe me, I was prepared for the contrary in today's market. I was resolved to not care, to just let it be in the world and take the time it takes to be appreciated. Instead, starting with the premiere in Venice and the awards we got right away, the reception has been open and warm. I don't mind trying to talk to people about it and helping them relax a little bit. But again, as you say, it's the kind of movie people aren't prepared for today. That doesn't mean we were at other times—particularly the time the film's reflecting. When I went to see 2001 with my dad at age 7 or 8, you went to that film, and so many other films, to not understand it. That was the excitement—to go and have interpretations, to see it again and basically go on a trip that was not cognitive, that was not rational, but that was so ultimately cinematic that you couldn't look away.

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