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Renaldo and Clara is a surrealist movie, directed by and starring Bob Dylan. Filmed in 1975, during Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue tour, it was released in 1978. In its original form, it is nearly four hours long.

The movie was written by Dylan and stars him as Renaldo, and his then-wife Sara Dylan as Clara, with longtime pal Ronnie Hawkins playing the role of 'Bob Dylan' (although basically appearing as himself). Interestingly, Renaldo and Clara also features appearances from both Bob's former lover Joan Baez (as "The Woman in White"), and his future companion, Ruth Tyrangiel (as a woman propositioned by Ronnie, playing Bob (!)). Dylan hired Allen Ginsberg and Sam Shepard to create scenes for the film; how many of their contributions survive can only be guessed, but the writing credit in any event belongs to Dylan.

Most of the performers are musicians or members of Dylan's inner circle; it could be argued that the only "professional" actors in the cast are Sam Shepard, Harry Dean Stanton, Helena Kallianiotes and singer/actress Ronee Blakley, all of whom are pretty much playing themselves here (although Ronee is in fact credited with the role of "Mrs. Dylan", much as Ronnie Hawkins is billed as "Bob").

The famous French film Les Enfants du Paradis had a heavy influence on the style, structure and thematic elements of Renaldo and Clara. There are many similarities between these two films. They include Dylan in whiteface, the recurring flower, "The Woman in White", 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 movie, 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, playing at a club in October, 1975; he committed suicide six months later. (Renaldo and Clara also features a very charismatic appearance from another ill-fated musician, David Blue, who gives some insight into the mid/late 1960s NYC folk music scene while playing an extended game of pinball).

The movie was generally poorly reviewed, often scathingly received, and its initial theatrical run was short. After opening in New York Citymarker and Los Angelesmarker, the only other cities where the original form ran were reportedly Minneapolismarker, Boston, Kansas City, Stillwater, OK, and Pittsfield, Mainemarker (a sold-out one week run), 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. It had a longer, low-profile run in wider distribution, but was not seen as commercially successful.

After a small number of showings (perhaps only a single airing) of the original version on European television, Dylan withdrew the film from distribution. Copies, made from recordings of the television broadcast, circulate among collectors, but 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.

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