This film is a documentary on Dylan’s tumultuous and historic 1966 tour of Europe with the Band – the one where he was roundly booed and reviled for “going electric” (and from which the recently released “Royal Albert Hall” album was taken). The legendary nature of these shows alone makes it worth having a document of them.
Of course, as the title suggests, the film attempts to undercut somewhat its status as a tour momento – as a matter of fact, in characteristically inscrutable fashion, ol’ Bob himself re-edited this movie (it was originally a straightforward concert film intended to be shown on ABC-TV) into a bizarre mish-mash of music, surrealism and cinema verite vignettes of Dylan and his companions’ offstage antics. Anyone hoping for a straightforward musical presentation will likely be disappointed, as there are no complete numbers here – Dylan cuts to and away from the concert stuff with no fanfare and little warning. In fact, he cuts to and away from *everything* in this fashion: the whole movie is a jittery and jerkily edited affair, plopping the viewer down in situations and, before you even know where you are (much less its significance), it’s off to somewhere else. The places in the movie mostly consist of backstage scenes or hotel room jam sessions, as well as some traipsing around the local spots of interest in different towns – but all done without any narration, without any context, and with barely any intelligible dialogue. For anyone who liked ‘Don’t Look Back’, the “officially” released documentary of Dylan’s previous tour of England, know that this movie stands in relation to that one as does ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ to ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ in the Beatles’ canon. Which is to say, ‘Eat the Document’ is the spaced-out, incomprehensible, and amateurishly assembled cousin to that groundbreaking and more “respectable” first film.
971MB | 51 min 56 s | 698×523 | mkv