Arts Dreamy Aberdeen
The weather has been cool and rainy here in Toronto, but that’s okay by me, as it’s setting the stage for a couple of films out of Seattle. I caught Kurt Cobain: About a Son the other day and was pleased with what I heard and saw: Directed by AJ Schnack (Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns)) and constructed from interviews with Cobain by Michael Azerrad (author of Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana), I was expecting something a little like Tupac: Resurrection. Like that documentary, About a Son’s VO is almost entirely Cobain’s voice (Azerrad can sometimes be heard asking questions or reacting).
The visuals are different than the animated stills and archival footage in Tupac. Shot in 35mm at locations in Aberdeen, Olympia, and Seattle, the look of the film is painterly and beautifully composed (hats off to cinematographer Wyatt Troll.) The shots are meant to illustrate a specific location and feeling when paired with Cobain’s interview. Adding to that are Charles Peterson’s photographs, some animated sequences, a soundtrack consisting of music that influenced Cobain (the pairing of a Queen song with an Aberdeen lumberyard is both stirring and poignant) and original tracks by Steve Fisk and Benjamin Gibbard. The result is an untraditional sort of documentary that captures time, place, and mood in a more impressionistic way than archival footage and talking heads often do. For the Seattle folks in the audience familiar with Cobain’s story and the landscape, the experience is moving. I’m not sure what someone who has never been out of, say, Santa Fe, New Mexico will think, but people interested in hearing from Cobain directly and seeing—or rather—feeling the places he lived should see this film.
I ran into John Jeffcoat last night after the world premiere of his first narrative feature, Outsourced, which he said went really well. Press and industry get to see this comedy, about a Seattle factory employee who travels to India to train new workers, later today, so more to come on that one.
—Shannon Gee @ Toronto International Film Festival