In 1979, Dylan declared himself as a born-again Christian, leaving fans startled. It was not unusual for Dylan to leave his fans perplexed. In 1965, he outraged folk purists with an electric guitar. He has never been afraid to confound his audience in the pursuit of his own vision or prioritise his artistic integrity. He made three albums during this phase, Slow Train Coming, Shot of Love and Saved; all testifying his new faith. He toured relentlessly, performing only songs that expressed his Christian message. One of those gigs was filmed but it was never shown.

Forty years later, when the film was brought out of the vaults there was a suggestion that it might merit a documentary, Dylan demurred and recommended the commissioning of sermons to be preached between the songs instead. New York writer Luc Sante was commissioned to compose them; Oscar nominated Michael Shannon was cast as the preacher and Jennifer LeBeau was invited to direct. The result is a gospel service, Dylan style, across the decades. Dylan remains enigmatic behind it all. Once again, he’s come up with something that just isn’t like anything else – but then Dylan just isn’t like anyone else.

Arena has been a long-time contributor to Dingle IFF, donating a film nearly every year since the festival’s debut in 2007. This will not be Dylan’s first appearance in Dingle; his films The Other Side of the Mirror and Newport Folk Festivals of 1963, ’64 and ’65, and Dylan in the Madhouse have each been screened. Dingle IFF will host the European premiere in 200-year-old St James’s church.

Screening Friday 23rd March at 10.15pm in St. James Church

Click HERE for tickets.

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