Archive of films Patti Smith: Dream of Life / Patti Smith: Dream of Life

2008, 109 min

Section: 2009: A Musical Odyssey
Year: 2009

This portrait of the legendary musician, poet and "punk priestess” was eleven years in the making. The film follows the multi-talented, charismatic and intimately frank artist Patti Smith through spoken words, performances, lyrics, interviews and also paintings and photographs. The film was a hit at the Sundance and Berlin festivals, and elsewhere.


This portrait of Patti Smith, the legendary musician, artist and poet known as the godmother of punk, was eleven years in the making. Smith emerged in the 1970s, galvanizing the music scene with her unique style: poetic rage, music, and her trademark swagger. We experience this multi-talented, charismatic and extremely private artist through spoken words, performances, lyrics, interviews, and also her paintings and photographs. Patti Smith, who narrates the film, defines the human experience as an overwhelming contradiction. She wrestles with the many paradoxes of human nature, while pulling out all the rock ’n’ roll, rawness and grit she is known for. Director Sebring says: "No person is just one thing. I know I am not just a fashion photographer. And Patti Smith is certainly not just a rock icon. For me, this movie is about discovering who Patti Smith is.”

About the director

Steven Sebring (b. 1966, Aberdeen, South Dakota) grew up in Arizona and has been living in New York since 1992. He became established as a fashion photographer, his style combining raw reality with fantasy and fashion design. He made two short films (New York Stories, 2003; Road Stories, 2004) and he published a book of photographs tracing the work of French sculptors Claude and François-Xavier Lalanne. His photographs have appeared on Patti Smith’s albums Gung Ho, Land and Twelve. Patti Smith: Dream of Life is his feature-film debut. It was premiered at the Sundance festival 2008 and was a hit at the Berlinale 2008 shortly afterwards.


Celluloid Dreams
2, rue Turgot, 75009, Paris
Tel: +33 149 700 370
E-mail: [email protected], [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: 2009: A Musical Odyssey
Director: Steven Sebring
Dir. of Photography: Phillip Hunt, Steven Sebring
Music: Patti Smith
Editor: Angelo Corrao, Lin Polito
Producer: Steven Sebring, Margaret Smilow, Scott Vogel
Production: Thirteen/WNET, Clean Socks
Cast: Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye, Oliver Ray, Jackson Smith, Jesse Smith, Tom Verlaine, Sam Shepard, Philip Glass
Contact: Celluloid Dreams


Pavel Klusák

Freelance journalist


© 2021 FILM SERVIS FESTIVAL KARLOVY VARY, a.s. [email protected] +420 221 411 011 All contacts

CinemasCinemas PartnersPartners
ProgramProgram About the projectAbout the project
HistoryHistory GalleryGallery
HistoryHistory ContactsContacts
Archive of filmsArchive of films KVIFF TalksKVIFF Talks
Industry Days July 5 - July 8Industry Days July 5 - July 8 ContactsContacts
VideogalleryVideogallery GalleryGallery
HistoryHistory Festival GuideFestival Guide