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Kurt Cobain - About a Son
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What makes the film unusual among documentaries is director AJ Schnack's determination to stay out of the way and allow Cobain to tell his own story. Eschewing the typical documentary format in which the viewer's gaze is focused on the subject, About a Son creates the sense of looking out through Kurt's eyes, seeing the images he would have seen and hearing the music he listened to. There are no Nirvana songs--just the music that inspired and influenced Cobain--and the visuals are a montage of evocative images of Aberdeen, Olympia, and Seattle. Listening to Kurt's sleepy, gravelly narration (most of the interviews were conducted in the wee hours of the morning) against the backdrop of these images elicits the feeling of taking a long stroll and talking intimately with an old friend.
As you stroll through Washington streets slicked with rain, passing floating bundles of Aberdeen timber, punk rock Olympia kids, and the city lights of Seattle, Kurt talks about his parents' divorce, his lifelong sense of isolation, the unexpected consequences of fame, and his unabashed devotion to his wife and daughter.Read more ›
The interviews took place in the early nineties over the course of a few months, about a year before Cobain's tragic death. Some are in person, and a few are over the phone. They're pleasantly informal and laid-back, since Cobain munches on a sandwich during one segment, and is occasionally interrupted by Courtney.
Over the course of several interviews, Cobain reflects on his life before rock stardom -- his childhood and his hometown, his formative years of mischief, his love of punk rock, his desire to be a rock star, and the early days of Nirvana. Cobain also contemplated drugs, health problems, his allure to flies, his quirky art, Courtney Love, fatherhood, turtles, misanthropy, death, oregano, journalists (I guess Azerrad was an exception), his bandmates, being onstage, the future of rock'n'roll, and his own reputation.
Since the interviews were taped with sound only, director AJ Schnack fills the screen with soundless, strangely ambient images from Seattle, Olympia and Aberdeen. Musicians, stores, logging machines, streets, forests, houses and faces pass by quietly -- as well as some weird cartoons. It feels a little like a nostalgic look through Cobain's own eyes.
Cobain himself was a remarkable person who has been overshadowed by his own posthumous legend (even when he was alive).Read more ›
The film just starts. No mention of his name or who is talking or what the visuals are. I wasn't even sure it was his voice I was hearing. In fact, I was sure it wasn't him. A friend, maybe. Or the director. But not him. The person speaking sounded so strangely normal. Slowly, tho, the realization that it might actually be Cobain talking, and then that it *must* be him talking and could be no one else, evolves. And, then, just wow - I was sucked right in. It's like listening to a private conversation and I was astonished by his authetic, unhurried, un-caring-to-entertain-anyone-whatsoever self.
After I'd realized it was his voice, I watched it dawned on me, again, slowly, that the film was scouting real locations specifically-personal to Cobain's life, and was illustrating what he's talking about. I assumed this for quite awhile because I also thought that might be wishful thinking on my part. But no. Listening to him talk you eventually realize are staring at his old room, old houses, old haunts. Did he really sleep in this trashed room? Or go to see bands in this bar? Or sit in this library when he was homeless? Really?
And, then, that's when the profundity of the film sunk in for me.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If your a Cobain Fan this is a great Listening doc. While many people say it was a snooze fest i found it almost comforting in the weirdest way possible, his voice is insanely... Read morePublished 5 months ago by adrianna
Cobain's tragic childhood made him one of the hatest kid in Aberdeen after a rape attempt and several anarchic acts that involved his band members. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Jackie Hardaway
Interesting to hear him in his own words (especially about the early days). I've stayed at the Polynesian at Ocean Shores several times - wonder if he ever did the fireplaces in... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Jess E. Hansen
THE BEST "KEEPING IT REAL AND WHAT NEEDED TO BE HEARD BY HIM, HE TAKES YOU IN HIS PERSONAL WORLD AND MAKES THIS INTERVIEW A PART OF US, IT IS AN IMTIMATE VIEW BY KURT AND IS I... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Gordon D. Vavages
The reason I love "About a Son" so much is because it's not a group of Rolling Stone staff members talking about Kurt's life as if they knew him personally. Read morePublished 14 months ago by P. Stark