No Direction Home, Martin Scorsese’s documentary about Bob Dylan’s early years, is but the latest item in a flood tide of Dylanalia that, in trying to pay due homage to America’s most important rock artist, constricts his four-decade career to its first six years. (The film is reviewed today in Slate by David Yaffe.) Though delightful to watch—it’s artfully made and studded with revealing tidbits—the documentary wallows in baby boomer nostalgia, replete with loving shots of bustling Greenwich Village and period footage of JFK romping with Caroline and John-John. Even the film’s literary companion—a book released simultaneously but sold separately—is not a new biography or oral history, but a precious “scrapbook” festooned with pullout and pop-up reproductions of lyric sheets, concert tickets, newspaper articles, and similar memorabilia. Ironically, all the hoopla ends up reducing Dylan to the avatar of the 1960s that the film makes clear he has never pretended to be.

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