Posted at 4:35 PM on November 29, 2007
by Euan Kerr
It's been an interesting week seeing how different people tell compelling film stories. There was the combination of archive, live actors, and victim interviews in "Nanking." Then the simplicity and power of Marjane Satrapi's black and white drawings animated in the film version of "Persepolis."
Now we have "Kurt Cobain: About A Son" opening this weekend at Minnesota Film Arts' Bell Museum. The 90 minute movie has no Nirvana footage or music, and only a few stills of Cobain performing with the band in its heyday at the forefront of the Seattle-based Grunge movement.
It's mainly images shot in and around the three Washington State towns of Cobain's youth: Aberdeen, Olympia, and Seattle.
But there's a lot of Cobain in the film. It's based on 25 hours of audio tape of interviews with Cobain by journalist Michael Azerrad who was preparing his book "Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana."
We hear Cobain talking about what he saw as his successes and failures, his talents and his deficits. He rags on journalists at length, and then apologizes to Azerrad, saying, of course, that he sees him as different. (This happens to just about every ink stained wretch. It's kind of amusing.)
Even if you have no knowledge or even interest in Grunge and Cobain, there is a hypnotic quality to listening to his voice and hearing his words.
When combined with the beauty of the Washington scenery, and the wordless stares of the people film maker AJ Schnack peppers through the film it's a transcendant experience.