Neil Young - "Journey Through The Past" (review)


Journey Through The Imagination

"Whatís this movie?Ľ  is the first thought which I had watching the first minutes of the film, "Journey Through The Past". Neil comes at a radio station, some Neil stuffs are on air, giving rise to some extracts of Neilís performances with "Buffalo Springfield" or Crosby, Stills, Nash. Would the journey through the past be the time when Neil was with these bands? Why not, letís go ahead in this journey. But very quickly the subject slips like a car on a country lane. This car has the soft restful purr from an old engine, someone opens the gate, and the car enters gently. And images follow upon images. And more the film unrolls its images, more I said to myself: "There's no sense in it. What is the subject? What does Neil want to talk to us about? Whatís his message?Ľ And it is as gently as the speed of this car as I came in the images that were meaningless to me. My imagination worked until the end. The memories of my experiences/knowledge came up in the depths of my being bringing its moments of happiness, pain, blues, and reflection. The story of this film is YOUR story, if you have none itís highly likely that you donít find any in it watching this film. Because the main theme is rather non-existent (the Ph.D. studentís wandering?) and the extracts with Neil playing music are few. Remind you the photo of the shed on the sleeve of Harvest. That, we see it lively, and the fire that crackles too. Most scenes are played and not "stolen" even when Neil traipses around cars to a breakerís, that gives really no interest if you remain distant of YOUR subject. Itís a personal film that must be watched alone, in loneliness. There are very beautiful shots/sequences at the time of the riders on the beach (cavalcade and adulation) worthy of a western by Clint Eastwood or Sergio Leone. The movie camera is in general rather clumsy. Itíll be better in "Human Highway" (a nice satirical ecological movie), itíll find its way with "Muddy Track" (on the 1987 roads), and itíll be totally controlled with "Greendale" (the film and the making of).

Denis Between The Rusty Words
(September 12, 2004) ©

Note: Strangely, three days after having written this text, Neil Young played "Journey Through The Past", song which he hadn't played since November 22, 1976.
© IDDN 2005

My original text