Patti Smith as Renaissance woman in intimate film

Patti Smith as Renaissance woman in intimate film

( Reuter )- Patti Smith hates labels, but if you had to choose a phrase to describe the singer, poet, political activist and painter, it might be Renaissance woman.

An intimate documentary about her life and work made over 12 years shows the 61-year-old artist veer from reflective commentator who ruminates on politics, family and death, to intense performer who sheds tears and spits with rage on stage.

Made by Steven Sebring, the mostly black-and-white "Patti Smith: Dream of Life" gets unusually close to its subject. Experimental camera work and editing makes for a fittingly unconventional portrait of one of the pioneers of punk music.

"It's not a rock 'n' roll film, it's not a concert film, it's a humanistic film," Smith told reporters on Saturday after the movie was screened at the Berlin Film Festival.

Sebring, who became a close friend of Smith's over the long filming period, said recording her became "like a drug." He amassed so much footage that editing took over a year.

"It was a hard film to tame," he said.

Smith was asked whether she liked being labeled as a punk rocker by the media.

"I have, since my first record, said right on the record that I was beyond labels, beyond gender, independent, and I don't like to be called any label.

"Every time you see a journalist that calls me a punk rocker, it's because they don't have the imagination or the professional intelligence or the curiosity or see the full breadth of what I've done."

Death looms large

Sebring captures a touching visit to her parents, concert footage old and new, Smith at protest rallies and on trips to Japan and Jerusalem, backstage preparations, reflections alone in her chaotic apartment and visits to friends' graves.

Death looms throughout the one hour, 50-minute film, but with little trace of morbidity. At one point Smith pours the ashes of a friend into her palm and at another speaks movingly about her brother and how his death affected her.

"I regularly visit graves," Smith told reporters. "Tomorrow, I'm going to visit Bertolt Brecht's grave. I like going to visit people's graves -- I find it comforting. I know so many people who are gone, I like the proximity of something of them there."

Smith was born in Chicago in 1946 and in the late '60s moved to New York where she frequented fashionable nightclubs and befriended musicians and photographers.

She sang in a band and enjoyed a cult following that was reinforced by her first album "Horses," released in 1975, which subsequently inspired many big names in rock.

"Patti Smith: Dream of Life," named after the 1988 album "Dream of Life," joins Smith in the late 1990s as she prepares to return to the stage to tour with idol Bob Dylan after 16 years out of the limelight.

Early reviews of the film have been glowing.

"She's writing for young poets who years from now may be inspired by this beautiful record of her life's work," wrote the Hollywood Reporter.

Subscribe to Trend in Google News! Subscribe
Number of detained rioting, looting suspects in Almaty exceeds 2,700
Number of detained rioting, looting suspects in Almaty exceeds 2,700
Kazakhstan discloses data on mutual trade with top CIS partners
Kazakhstan discloses data on mutual trade with top CIS partners
Shavkat Mirziyoyev hosts Deputy PM of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov
Shavkat Mirziyoyev hosts Deputy PM of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov
Loading Bars
Washington Post publishes article of Portugal-based traveler on Azerbaijan's Khinalig (PHOTO)
NATO looks forward to continued broad practical cooperation with Azerbaijan in coming period
Brent oil reaches $87 per barrel on ICE for first time since 2014
Turkey confirms 64,935 daily COVID-19 cases
Number of detained rioting, looting suspects in Almaty exceeds 2,700
5.0-magnitude quake jolts central Turkey
U.S. Senate panel to debate app store reform bill
United Airlines warns 5G plan would impact 1.25 mln passengers a year
Bayern striker Lewandowski awarded Best FIFA Men's Player of Year 2021
Yellen says U.S. economy "has never worked fairly for Black Americans"
North Korea confirms tactical guided missile test on Monday - media
4th Pfizer, Moderna shot less effective against Omicron: Israeli study
Kuwait's justice minister tests positive for COVID-19
Passenger traffic at Frankfurt airport picks up in 2021
Israel reduces COVID-19 quarantine to keep economy going
Number of COVID-2019 cases across globe exceeds 325 million - WHO
Kazakhstan discloses data on mutual trade with top CIS partners
Israel's unemployment rate drops to 6, lowest since plagued by COVID-19
Turkey supports Georgia's participation in 3+3 peace talks
Solar power excels in Turkey's rapid shift to green energy sources
Azerbaijan FM receives delegation led by Chairman of Parliament of Montenegro (PHOTO)
Thousands of flights canceled in eastern U.S. as winter storm heads north
Shavkat Mirziyoyev hosts Deputy PM of Turkmenistan Serdar Berdimuhamedov
Magnitude 5.6 quake hits western Afghanistan, killing more than 20
US Joint Chiefs chairman and Marine Corps chief have COVID-19
Six servicemen returned by Azerbaijan arrested in Armenia
Approval of U.S. pandemic response hits new low: poll
Georgia exports 107 mln bottles of wine in 2021, record high in 9 years
Turkey condemns drone attack targeting Abu Dhabi
Nearly 60% of voters support amendments to Serbia’s constitution — electoral commission
Azerbaijani Prime Minister talks bilateral agenda with Chairman of Montenegro's Parliament
Turkmenistan, Afghanistan agree to resume TAPI construction
Another offshore project to boost operations at Kazakhstan's Kashagan
Russia and China - potential investors in Iran's ports
Azerbaijan shares data on number of vaccinated citizens
Cooperation opportunities between Azerbaijan, Qatar's SMEs discussed in Baku (PHOTO)
Azerbaijan confirms 359 more COVID-19 cases, 263 recoveries
Price indexes of financial, industrial sectors at Uzbek stock exchange fall
Foreign visitors spending more money in Georgia
Russia’s Astrakhan, Baku discussing possibility of building ships for Azerbaijan
Cargo transportation via Iran’s Mehrabad International Airport up
Market capitalization of Baku Stock Exchange reaches highest level
Iran’s Bahar Azadi gold coin price falling
French agency to support sustainable development of livestock sector in Uzbekistan
Saudi index hits 15-year peak on higher oil prices
SOCAR, Axens ink agreement within modernization of Baku Oil Refinery (PHOTO)
Iran shares figures on date harvesting
Azerbaijan joins logistics project with Russia, Uzbekistan on rapid food supply
Bank of Israel optimistic that Omicron won't harm economic growth
Russia to introduce digital technologies in work with Azerbaijani partners - Russian ministry
Retail sales of computer equipment in Azerbaijan increases
Georgia sees increase in money transfers from Azerbaijan
Brazil keen to import urea and petrochemical products from Iran
Uzbek Commodity Exchange announces weekly quotes of commodities for export
Iran able to provide uninterrupted gas supply countrywide, minister says
Georgia stays on track with hazelnut exports as both value and volume grow
Russia, Azerbaijan have huge potential to further strengthen bilateral ties - ministry
NCOC talks Kazakhstan's Kashagan development plans for 2022
Kazakhstan to take measures for privatization of Samruk-Kazyna Fund's assets
Global unemployment will total 207 mln people in 2022, 21 mln more than in 2019 — UN
Kazakhstan names total amount of damage from riots in Almaty
Uzbek Kapitalbank opens tender for purchase of spare parts for NCR ATMs
Georgia sees increase in money inflow in 2021
Uzbekistan reduces amount of compensation paid for travel companies and air carriers
Kazakhstan unveils foreign trade structure with EAEU countries for 11M2021
Georgia’s records increase in exports, imports – Galt & Taggart
Iran seeks to continue its oil-related projects with China
Decree signed: Georgia's initiative to allow Turkey into its pharma market taking shape
Iran sending commercial delegation to Iraq
India's main cities record sharp fall in COVID-19 infections
Eurostat names Turkmenistan-Poland trade volume
Turkmenistan eyes to join Organization for Cooperation of Railways’ agreements
President Ilham Aliyev meets in video format with Speaker of Parliament of Montenegro Aleksa Bečić (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Why developments in Kazakhstan matter for global oil & gas market?
Uzbekistan increases frequency of trains on Tashkent-Bukhara route
Iran reveals COVID-19 data for January 17
Iran, China to sing exclusive contracts within 25 year deal
VTB Bank Azerbaijan opens tender to renew Web Application Firewall licenses
Training sessions with commanders held in Azerbaijan (PHOTO/VIDEO)
Sale of currency at weekly auctions of Central Bank of Azerbaijan has no impact on Eurobonds - Gazprombank
Kazakhstan Railways company to buy spare parts for elevator
Russia documents 30,726 daily COVID-19 cases, highest number since December 10
First regular bus trips to Azerbaijani's liberated lands may be launched soon
Population’s expenses on pharmaceutical products increase in Azerbaijan for 2021
Hydrogen to lead to emergence of new centers of geopolitical influence – IRENA
Iran to set up underwater pipeline to supply gas to Qeshm Island
Iran opens container shipping route to India
Kazakhstan Railways opens tender to buy spare parts
Azerbaijan changes amounts of official salaries of non-state employees of state structures
ISIPO discloses number of enterprises re-launched in Iran
Kazakhstan's trade with EAEU countries growing
Hydrogen to cover over 10% of global energy use by 2050
Georgia’s construction equipment vendor to represent UK company in Azerbaijan
Azerbaijan Army's engineering units manage movement on snowy roads in liberated lands (VIDEO)
Kazakhstan increases total production, import volume of cereals
Azerbaijan increases monthly salaries of senior sports scouts
TAP’s technical forward capacity by Jan.23
Physical gas flows, nominations at TAP’s interconnections
Central Bank of Iran to test using cryptocurrency for int'l trade transactions
Azerbaijan mine-clearing report for its liberated lands
All news