Renaldo and Clara
|Renaldo and Clara|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Bob Dylan|
|Produced by||Mel Howard|
|Written by||Bob Dylan
|Music by||Various artists|
|Edited by||Bob Dylan
|Distributed by||Circuit Films|
Renaldo and Clara is a 1978 American film directed by Bob Dylan and starring Bob Dylan, Sara Dylan, and Joan Baez. Written by Dylan and Sam Shepard, the film incorporates three distinct film genres: concert footage, documentary interviews, and dramatic fictional vignettes reflective of Dylan's song lyrics and life.
Filmed in the fall of 1975 prior to and during Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue tour, the film features appearances and performances by Ronee Blakley, T-Bone Burnett, Jack Elliott, Allen Ginsberg, Arlo Guthrie, Ronnie Hawkins, Roger McGuinn, Joni Mitchell, Mick Ronson, Arlen Roth, Sam Shepard, and Harry Dean Stanton. Renaldo and Clara was released in its original four-hour form on January 25, 1978 in the United States. Its limited release in theaters in New York City, Los Angeles, and other cities was discontinued after a few weeks following widespread negative reviews. Renaldo and Clara won the Interfilm Award at the Mannheim-Heidelberg International Filmfestival in 1978.
Renaldo and Clara was written by Bob Dylan and Sam Shepard. Most of the performers are musicians or members of Dylan's inner circle; the only professional actors in the cast are Sam Shepard, Harry Dean Stanton, Helena Kallianiotes, and Ronee Blakley.
The style, structure, and thematic elements of Renaldo and Clara were heavily influenced by the French film Les Enfants du Paradis. Similarities between the two films include the use of whiteface (Dylan), the recurring flower, the woman in white (Baez), the on-stage and backstage scenes, and the dialogue of both films' climactic scenes. Also evident is the Cubist approach of the two films, allowing us to see the main characters from the different perspectives of various lovers. Running time is also relatively similar.
Many of the artists performing with the Rolling Thunder Revue are featured in the film, which also includes clips of concert performances and footage of Rubin Carter, the subject of Dylan's song "Hurricane". The film also contains the last known footage of Phil Ochs, who is shown preparing to take the stage at Folk City in October 1975; he committed suicide six months later. The film also features an appearance from another ill-fated musician, David Blue, who gives some insight into the 1960s New York City folk music scene while playing an extended game of pinball.
Upon its theatrical release in 1978, Renaldo and Clara received poor reviews, and its initial limited theatrical run was discontinued after a few weeks. After opening in New York City and Los Angeles, the only other cities where the original four-hour version was shown were Minneapolis; Boston; Kansas City; Stillwater, Oklahoma; Pittsfield, Maine (a sold-out one week run); San Francisco; Santa Cruz; and Vancouver, Canada.
Later in 1978, Dylan allowed a two-hour edit of the film to be distributed. The shortened version focused more on the concert footage and omitted many of the dramatic scenes.
After a small number of showings of the original version on European television, Dylan withdrew the film from distribution. It was shown in two parts 7-8 July 1980 on German television ZDF; on Finnish television 28 August 1982; 26 December 1983 (Boxing Day) on Channel 4 in London. The 4 hour version was also shown 29 May 2011 at the Glasgow Film Theatre. Copies, made from recordings of the television broadcast, circulate among collectors (the first 25 seconds of the tape-to-DVD had 'bad tracking'). The only parts of the movie to be released for consumers are the excerpts found on the bonus DVD accompanying the initial release of Dylan's The Bootleg Series Vol. 5: Bob Dylan Live 1975, The Rolling Thunder Revue. Footage from the film also appeared in the music video of Dylan's 1991 song "Series of Dreams".
- Bob Dylan as Renaldo
- Sara Dylan as Clara
- Joan Baez as Woman in White
- Ronnie Hawkins as Bob Dylan
- Ronee Blakley as Mrs. Dylan
- Jack Elliott as Longheno de Castro
- Harry Dean Stanton as Lafkezio
- Bob Neuwirth as The Masked Tortilla
- Mel Howard as Ungatz
- Allen Ginsberg as The Father
- David Mansfield as The Son
- Jack Baran as The Truck Driver
- Helena Kallianiotes as Herself
- Rubin "Hurricane" Carter as Himself
- Scarlet Rivera as Herself
- Mama Maria Frasca as Herself
- Mad Bear as Himself
- Roger McGuinn as Himself
- David Blue as Himself
- Joni Mitchell as Herself
- Rob Stoner as Himself
- Ruth Tyrangel as Herself
- Steven Soles as Himself
- Mick Ronson as Security Guard
- Anne Waldman as Sister of Mercy
- Denise Mercedes as Herself
- Linda Thomases as Herself
- T-Bone Burnett as The Inner Voice
- Sheila Shotton as CBC Lady
- Kevin Crossley as Piano Player
- Larry Sloman as Newspaper Man
- Hal Frazier as Singer
- M. Will as MC
- Sam Shepard as Rodeo
- Howie Wyeth as Himself
- Arlen Roth as Himself
- Luther Rix as The Drummer
- Andre Bernard Tremblay as Maurice
- Dominic Paulo as The Realist
- Arlo Guthrie as Mandolin Player
- Roberta Flack as Guest Artist
- Phil Ochs as Himself
- Claudia Carr as Dancer
- "When I Paint My Masterpiece" by Bob Dylan, War Memorial Coliseum, Plymouth, MA, October 31, 1975
- "Mississippi Blues" by Bob Dylan, Gas Station, Augusta, ME, November 25, 1975
- "Kaw-Liga" by Bob Dylan, Studio Instrumental Rentals, NYC, October 1975
- "Isis" by Bob Dylan, Montreal Forum, December 4, 1975
- "Ballad in Plain D" by Gordon Lightfoot, Studio Instrumental Rentals, NYC, October 1975
- "In the Pines" by Ronnie Hawkins
- "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" by Bob Dylan, Montreal Forum, December 4, 1975
- "Nurse's Song" by Allen Ginsberg, Gerdes Folk City, NYC, October 23, 1975
- "People Get Ready" by Bob Dylan, Studio Instrumental Rentals, NYC, October 1975
- "I Want You" by Bob Dylan, Studio Instrumental Rentals, NYC, October 1975
- "Need a New Sun Rising" by Ronee Blakely
- "Mama's Lament" by Mama Maria Frasca, Dreamaway Lounge, Springfield, MA, November 7, 1975
- "God and Mama" by Mama Maria Frasca, Dreamaway Lounge, Springfield, MA, November 7, 1975
- "Salt Pork, West Virginia" by Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Seacrest Motel, Falmouth, MA October 29, 1975
- "Mule Skinner Blues" by Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Seacrest Motel, Falmouth, MA October 29, 1975
- "What Will You Do When Jesus Comes" by Bob Dylan, Studio Instrumental Rentals, NYC, October 1975
- "Little Moses" by Bob Dylan, Studio Instrumental Rentals, NYC, October 1975
- "It Ain't Me Babe" by Bob Dylan, Harvard Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, November 20, 1975
- "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan, Clinton Correctional Facility, Clinton, NJ, December 7, 1975
- "Hurricane" by Bob Dylan, Studio Instrumental Rentals, NYC, October 1975
- "She Belongs to Me" by Bob Dylan, Studio Instrumental Rentals, NYC, October 1975
- "Catfish" by Rob Stoner
- "It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry" by Bob Dylan, Boston Music Hall, November 21, 1975 (evening show)
- "Longheno de Castro" by Ramblin' Jack Elliot, Gerdes Folk City, NYC, October 23, 1975
- "Diamonds & Rust" by Joan Baez
- "If You See Her, Say Hello" by Bob Dylan, Studio Instrumental Rentals, NYC, October 1975
- "Romance in Durango" by Bob Dylan, Montreal Forum, December 4, 1975
- "One Too Many Mornings" by Bob Dylan, Studio Instrumental Rentals, NYC, October 1975
- "The House of the Rising Sun" by Bob Dylan and Rob Stoner, Hotel Room, Quebec, November 28, 1975
- "One More Cup of Coffee" by Bob Dylan, Montreal Forum, December 4, 1975
- "Eight Miles High" by Roger McGuinn
- "Chestnut Mare" by Roger McGuinn
- "Sara" by Bob Dylan, Montreal Forum, December 4, 1975
- "The Water Is Wide" by Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, Palace Theater, Waterbury, CT, November 11, 1975
- "Patty’s Gone to Laredo" by Bob Dylan, Studio Instrumental Rentals, NYC, October 1975
- "Suzanne" by Joan Baez
- "Never Let Me Go" by Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, Montreal Forum, December 4, 1975
- "Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands" by Bob Dylan, Studio Instrumental Rentals, NYC, October 1975
- "Tangled Up in Blue" by Bob Dylan, Boston Music Hall, November 21, 1975 (evening show)
- "Just Like a Woman" by Bob Dylan, Harvard Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, November 20, 1975
- "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" by Bob Dylan, Harvard Square Theater, Cambridge, MA, November 20, 1975
- "In the Morning" by Hal Frazier, Seacrest Motel, Falmouth, MA, October 29, 1975
- Maslin, Janet (January 26, 1978). "Renaldo Clara (1978) 'Renaldo and Clara,' Film by Bob Dylan:Rolling Thunder". The New York Times.
- Corbett, Ben. "Renaldo and Clara: Bob Dylan as Filmmaker". About.com. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- Shepard, Sam (1977). Rolling Thunder Logbook. New York: The Viking Press. Retrieved April 7, 2012.
- Griffin, Sid (2010). Shelter from the Storm: Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Yearbook. London: Jawbone Press. ISBN 978-1906002275.
- Heylin, Clinton (1991). Bob Dylan: Behind the Shades Revisited. New York: Summit Books. ISBN 978-0671738945.
- Shepard, Sam (1977). Rolling Thunder Logbook. New York: The Viking Press. ISBN 978-0670603251.
- Sloman, Larry "Ratso" (2002). On the Road with Bob Dylan. New York: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-1400045969.
- Sounes, Howard (2001). Down the Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan. New York: Grove Press. ISBN 978-0802116864.
- Wilentz, Sean (2010). Bob Dylan in America. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 978-0385529884.
- Williams, Paul (1994). Bob Dylan, Performing Artist: The Middle Years (1974–1986). London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-0711935556.
- Renaldo and Clara at the Internet Movie Database
- Renaldo and Clara at AllMovie
- Renaldo and Clara: a synopsis