Kurt Cobain About a Son

"Kurt Cobain: About a Son" is a counterpoint to the iconic late Nirvana rocker's legacy. Narration is composed entirely of excerpts from interview tapes Cobain made a year before his April 1994 suicide. Some fans will find the approach too arty and indirect; but others will welcome the specialized theatrical release and the subsequent DVD.

Impressionistic docu “Kurt Cobain About a Son” is a counterpoint to the iconic late Nirvana rocker’s legacy. Narration is composed entirely of excerpts from interview tapes Cobain made a year before his April 1994 suicide, while visuals are evocative latter-day shots of the three Washington State locations he inhabited during his short lifespan. Some fans will find the approach (which avoids Nirvana music and perf footage) too arty and indirect; but others will welcome the specialized theatrical release and the subsequent DVD.

Extensive audio interviews, recorded for Michael Azerrad’s book “Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana,” find Cobain alternately skittish and revealing, airing contradictory feelings about fame, his band, and just about everything. (Spouse Courtney Love, however, gets nothing but praise.) A happy child until his parents’ divorce, he struggled with manic depression, chronic spinal/ stomach pain and general misfit status before finding an outlet in music. But the intrusion on his private life brought by success seemed too great. Abetted by Charles Peterson’s B&W grunge-scene photos, Wyatt Toll’s color lensing strikes a meditative tone. Original score and well-chosen songs by other artists flavor the thoughtful package. Pic was shot in 35mm but exhibited in HD at Toronto.

Kurt Cobain About a Son

Production: A Sidetrack Films presentation of a Bonfire Films of America production. Produced by Shirley Moyers, Noah Khoshbin, Chris Green. Executive producer, Ravi Anne. Co-producer, Michael Azerrad. Directed by A.J. Schnack.

Crew: Camera (color), Wyatt Troll; editor, Schnack; original music, Steve Fisk, Benjamin Gibbard. Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Real to Reel), Sept. 14, 2006. Running time: 97 MIN.

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