A Poet on Celluloid

At an hour and forty-five minutes, this documentary might not be long enough to do justice to Patti Smith, this poet and musician whose career has spanned 40 years. But Patti Smith: Dream of Life, the culmination of 10 years of filming and shown last week at Cornell Cinema, provides a captivating look at the life and work of this artist of the spoken word. We accompany her as she tours to Japan, India and Israel, performing her poetry with a rock band. But we’re also there for her quieter moments, when she’s riding in a car, visiting her parents, or sitting in a corner amidst a pile of her belongings. Her voice is strong, sharp and deep. Her poetry is raw and un-frilled. And physically, Patti Smith presents herself in the same “what you see is what you get” manner.