I just saw the movie “I’m Not There” last night. In it, six different fictional characters are made out of the historical persona of Bob Dylan. Some of the activities and attitudes of the characters match historical facts of Dylan’s life closely at time, but in a distorted way and some are entirely made up, being mere riffs on Dylanesque themes. Only Dylan fans can tell the difference.
Aesthetically speaking, I thought the movie was fascinating at times and quite dull (cough, Richard Gere) at other times. Cutting two of the characters and about 30 minutes off of the two hour film would have improved it a great deal. Still, I have to give it credit for great originality. Dylan’s music has never translated well to film (cough, “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid,” cough, “Masked and Anonymous”) and this is about the best attempt so far.
In any case, I thought that this was exactly the opposite of the creation process for the Jesus character in the gospels. Instead of one becoming six, probably the Jesus character was taken from about six different characters, some possibly close to historical characters and some purely invented. They were all brought together into one character and name.