True to Wu-Tang form, Rza has developed an education in filmmaking through both study and participation in martial arts films of the 70’s and 80’s, having served as a composer for the modern-day benchmark for the genre, Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill.
For his feature directing debut, Rza (real name: Robert Fitzgerald Diggs, so let’s just keep calling him “Rza”) has co-written with Eli Roth The Man with the Iron Fists, which stays true to genre with an all-Asian cast, excepting of course, Russell Crowe. Yup. You really can’t have a kung-fu movie without Russell Crowe, can you?
No. You can’t.
Bob Dylan’s films in 1978 are like his live performances from 2009 – incomprehensible and disappointing. Dylan dipped his toe into the feature directing waters in 1978, his 1972 documentary Eat the Document, which I’m not counting because this list is about features.
While Dylan learned about effiency in storytelling through his songs, he must have missed the day that was taught at film school as his rookie effort Renaldo and Clara clocks in at 292 minutes. What’s so important that it took Mr. Zimmerman five hours to discuss it? No one really knows.
The (shudder) avant-garde interweaving of three separate films is described thusly by IMDB user thustlebird, who is as good a person as any to describe the mess of a film.
This epic is a mass amalgamation of three separate film-types that is, contrary to popular opinion, coherent and a unified whole. Bob Dylan is shown in concert, often masked, during the Rolling Thunder Revue. The film also features documentary footage, including Ruben “Hurricane” Carter’s struggle against the forces that have imprisoned him. The third element is fictional “role-playing” footage with Bob Dylan in the guise of guitar-strumming Renaldo and his wife Sara as his companion Clara.
Of course Bob Dylan doesn’t play himself. And of course the cast is littered with rock-and-rollers that have no business acting.
He did it, it can’t be undone, and now he’s on this list. Nice one, Bob.