Levi Asher is reporting that Bob Dylan’s four hour 1978 film, Renaldo & Clara, is being readied for release on DVD, and, presumably, Blu-Ray.
According to Asher, he has “heard from a semi-reliable source that Renaldo and Clara, a much-discussed and little-seen 1978 epic film by Bob Dylan, will soon be finally released on DVD. . . I’m really glad that Bob Dylan’s creative team has decided to give this undeniably important movie its proper official release, though I haven’t yet heard word when it will happen.”
He also has commented that “It happens that I have a good connection very close to Dylan’s management, and this information did NOT come from that source (since this person is a friend, I try not to bug him for inside scoops). The information came to me in a relatively random way from a person who is working on the audio/video conversion. There has definitely not been an announcement, but I’m pretty sure the technical work for the DVD is being done right now.”
Although the film was initially misunderstood, it has gained a significant cult following over the last few decades. In 1993, Asher wrote a detailed synopsis of the film for rec.music.dylan.
While the official commercial release of Renaldo & Clara would be amazing news, I’m wondering if the “technical work” might be for some other project, like the rumored sequel to the 2005 Martin Scorsese documentary, No Direction Home.
Renaldo & Clara was a critical and commercial disaster. Although Dylan insisted that the movie be four hours long, a shorter version, heavy on the concert footage, was eventually released. It has never been commercially available, although his performance of “Tangled Up In Blue” has been used as a promotional video, and the initial copies of Live 1975 – The Bootleg Series Volume 5, included a two-song bonus DVD. A handful of songs have been officially released, including a rare, promotional, 4-song 12″ EP. It was shown on TV once, and that copy has been traded among collectors.
The footage was filmed during the first leg of the Rolling Thunder Revue tour in 1975, and was edited in 1977. Dylan paid for the movie himself to have control over his artistic vision. During this period, his wife, Sara, divorced Dylan, making this a very expensive time for the budding film-maker.
Thanks to Reidar Indrebø and Masato Kato for the tip.
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