The opening sequence of ‘No Direction Home’ is used to make the audience aware to the broad scope that the film is covering.
The clip (which was the end of the one above and the next 2 minutes)opens up on concert footage of Bob Dylan performing that makes people instantly aware of who the film is about and what the focus will be. (I’m not even a Bob Dylan fan, and even I was able to tell who the film was about straight away). Yet it is with the next few shots that the real scope of the production is presented to the audience. From the concert footage, it jumps quite suddenly (both in the image and in the sudden lack of sound) to shots of a snow covered winter, a 1950’s US Country song starts to play as we first see his childhood home and before the sequence final expands out to him talking about his town, and how the economy in the town works.
This short 2 minute sequence makes the audience completely aware that whilst this may be a biopic documentary about the life of Bob Dylan, there is more to the man than just his music. He had a childhood and he had a family. He grew up in small, poor town. I found the sequence to work like an onion; that layers were being pulled back to show more and more about who Bob Dylan really is and what his life was like.
This is presented to us in a multitude of ways. The concert footage in the beginning lets the audience know this is about Bob Dylan. The poor socio-economic state of this family is shown through the image of his run down house, his soft and almost sad tone in the voiceover and in the music that is accompanying it. This also works into making the audience understand the plight of the town, when the harsh landscapes are shown, with the soft 1950’s music playing delicately in the background, and the voice over talks about the hard times that have faced this town.
This short opening sets the tone for the documentary and makes the audience aware of what is going to follow on for the rest of the film. The audience knows that it is not going to just focus on Bob Dylan’s music career, but instead focus on how he went from a poor young man in a mining town, to one of the biggest musicians in history. This small sequence, lets you know that this transformation took place, and then asks the audience to watch the rest to find out how.