Tangled Up with Dylan: The Ballad of AJ Weberman
Documentary chronicling the life, times and crimes of notorious Bob Dylan obsessive and garbology inventor, AJ Weberman. It's an irreverent and witty exploration into one man's obsessions, a bohemian life lived on the New York fringes and a uniquely twisted take on the American dream.
Bob Dylan once said 'I don't think I'm gonna be really understood until maybe 100 years from now'. Author of the Dylan To English Dictionary, a Dylanologist and originator of garbology (the practice of rooting through rubbish in order to gain insight into prominent people's lives), Weberman has made it his life's work to understand Dylan.
At times both hilarious and disturbing, the film is not only a great companion piece to Scorsese's No Direction Home but an interesting observation on our unbalanced desires to know more about celebrities and how far we are willing to go to get that information or even become a part of their lives.
Weberman does not see himself as a stalker and insists that Dylan should be grateful that he is around: 'how was I to know I would have been to Dylan what Verlaine was to Rimbaud'. It's hard to see this as a tale of poet and critic, but rather a look at the bizarre relationship between the obsessed and the object of his obsession and how it can completely take over a man's life.
Beginning in the 1960s when Dylan was at the height of his early fame and regarded as something close to a prophet or a seer by the American counter-culture, Weberman has sought to try and climb inside Dylan's head by going through his rubbish. Back then he pursued his obsession relentlessly.
An amusing telephone conversation between Weberman and Dylan, recorded in the 1970s, punctuates the film in the form of animations, creating connections between Weberman's past and present.
The film also features an unforgettable cast of supporting characters close to Weberman, including New York street singer David Peel, former child dancer Jay Byrd and Aaron Kay aka 'The Pieman', and enjoys a vivid Americana soundtrack performed by cast members, adding an extra veneer of strangeness to Weberman and his universe.