STACK Jun #128
COBAIN: MONTAGE OF HECK
cut of the movie, the first real edit of this movie, was the movie that we did. There was no director’s cut. The movie that I saw for the first time in August is this movie without the animations, 20 minutes longer but with the same scene count.
from her. He kept a diary of his life: it just wasn’t necessarily the journal. The diary of his life was his art. This is not a movie from the outside looking in – it’s a movie from the inside looking out. It’s Kurt’s interior journey: the only reason we were able to achieve that is because he was so expressive in different forms of media, visually and aurally. I felt, here’s this guy who’s so, sort of, pure in his forms of expression artistically, but always feels a little uncomfortable talking to the press. And he’s either deceptive, or he’s aggro, or he’s withdrawn, or he’s overly earnest. But I rarely ever heard Kurt... the voice of Kurt I heard when he was by himself. I could not have made this film or this approach visually or stylistically with anybody else I’ve ever experienced.
The film is extremely intimate, because Cobain documented
don’t know if Mick Jagger would know who Speed Racer and H.R. Pufnstuf are, but when I saw those in Kurt’s drawings, I was filled with joy. The scene in Tracy’s house, where Kurt is writing all of his music, that’s a seven-minute sequence of the film in which you never see a photograph of Kurt, nor any film footage of Kurt, yet you feel... I feel closer to him in that sequence than anywhere else in the movie, and that scene’s constructed over the course of two months of cutting nothing but audio. So we belt out this audio montage and for the longest time it was just against black. I didn’t want to animate it because I like just sitting in a dark room listening to it; I felt so close to Kurt in those moments because they’re so unfiltered and they’re so intimate, and he seems so happy. It’s more exciting to me as a filmmaker to cut audio first and then explore the canvas and explore how we can bring it to life visually and embellish it and create this immersive experience. So the challenge of this film was not choosing what to see, it was really trying to figure out how to create what to show. When did the more crucial elements of the story reveal themselves? I listened to a story of Kurt talking about losing his virginity; suddenly it was like the end of The Usual Suspects : everything came into focus. That word, ‘ridicule’ – ‘I couldn’t handle the ridicule so I went down to the train tracks’ – everywhere I looked, it started to emerge. Floyd the Barber : “I was shamed/I was shamed/I was shamed.” Kurt was ashamed by the divorce, really. Then the narrative – that subtext – really came into focus. The first
so much of his life. Was it a heavy responsibility? The movie does not even come close to encapsulating the iceberg of documenting Kurt’s childhood. The Super 8 film of his childhood was so revelatory, I was conflicted...there was all of this ephemera. Wendy saved ticket stubs from the first time Kurt went to see a football game, aged three. Everything was saved and collated: I think Kurt got some of that
Listen to Nirvana on
MONTAGE OF HECK Review An exhaustive, intimate portrait of the beloved and iconoclastic musician. Kurt Cobain was the lead singer of Nirvana, a band that seemingly came out of nowhere to become the biggest rock act in the world, capturing the angst and rage of an entire generation. Then he took his life at 27… but just who was he, really? With much hoopla and anticipation of a new flick on a most misunderstood rock icon, from the director of the Rolling Stones’ doco Crossfire Hurricane and the Oscar-nominated bio of Hollywood producer Robert Evans, The Kid
Stays in the Picture , it’s almost impossible to distance yourself from an emotional connection to the never-seen home vids, candid pics, illustrations and audio offerings in this exhaustive portrait. Executive- produced by Cobain’s daughter Frances Bean, it’s refreshing to see there’s certainly no homogenisation or punches pulled. Perhaps even the opposite, as we see the bare tragedy of an artist lost in popularity, escaping via isolation amidst a bubble of comfort with wife and child. Clever manipulation via smart use of stock footage, incredible cinematography, clever graphics and an aural onslaught of stimuli mirroring the mindset of our subject, it’s hair-on-the-arm raising to feel so intimate and voyeuristic. Presented without judgement and merely offering the materials available is the secret to this engrossing last word on a troubled man struggling to be emotionally satisfied. Chris Murray
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