Tarnation (2003, Jonathan Caouette)

On one hand, this guy’s got a point that his is a life worth documenting… I mean, he and his boyfriend directed a musical version of Blue Velvet in their high school using Marianne Faithfull songs.

On the other hand, this is a guy who filmed himself in closeup while on the phone hearing that his mother overdosed on lithium. Reminds me of the Grizzly Man setting up his camera and doing retakes of himself jumping down a hill. Too much information sometimes, too personal, blogging-as-filmmaking.


But it’s an engaging movie, edited to death with music video segments and as many cheap visual effects as he could find. Frequent use of intertitles (which refer to himself in the third person) help make it less narcissistic, and in fact it looks like the film was supposed to be about his mother, documenting her history and personality as a warning against electro-shock therapy, but she’s not always around since he moved away from the family for a few years. Don’t think I’d agree with the “best doc of the decade” raves I was reading last week but it’s definitely a good one.


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