It was during a recreation of the London concert at which a betrayed folk fan screamed “Judas!” at Dylan that I realized the best analogy for I’m Not There is Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. Only Gibson’s film is equal in its commitment to surreal reverence and literalism. The truly unbearable aspect of the Passion was not its primeval anti-Semitism or pornographic bloodshed; it was its predictability. Despite being a story that so many know down to its barest details (in four separate versions), Gibson retold it with grinding exactitude. Even Gibson’s recourse to dead languages had no effect on the film’s sense of inevitability. The horror that dawned on me when I realized that I knew – and that everyone who had read the Gospel of Matthew (or Ginsberg’s “Howl”) knew – the Aramaic for “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (“Eli, eli, lamma sabacthani?”) was the same horror that gripped me when I realized I’m Not There couldn’t resist a recreation of the “Dylan-goes-electric” 1965 Newport folk festival, replete with the apocryphal story of Pete Seeger attempting to take an axe to the electric cords because he couldn’t hear Dylan explaining that he wasn’t going to work on Maggie’s farm anymore.
Meanwhile the real beef on Saval's part appears to be two-fold: