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March 15, 2007

A Little Bit About About A Son

I've seen a lot of really great films in the past week, and I'm not even going to try to play favorites; but I will say that nothing really hit me on a deeply personal level until this morning, when I finally saw AJ Schnak's Kurt Cobain About A Son.


I've written about AJ's film and my own feelings about Cobain and Nirvana a few times in the past, and I'm sure I will again in the future. For now, I'll just say that About A Son affected me in a way I haven't quite grasped yet. I feel like a missing part of my own life has been filled in for me. I was thirteen when Kurt Cobain killed himself; that morning was the first time I was really aware of him. His death was all I knew of him, and its impact on me continues to resound even now; but watching this film, listening to him speak, I was able to separate him from that for the first time, and in a strange way, it took me back, back to when I was twelve or even eleven. Like I was catching up with something I'd never known.

* * *

AJ's film, with its lyrical imagery of the Pacific Northwest and spectral narration, reminded me just a little bit of Robinson Devor's Zoo, another nonfiction film that didn't disappoint my high expectations. It's a gorgeous work, absolutely lovely to behold, and it's not prurient or terribly shocking in its content; and yet it doesn't go down easy - not so much because of its subject matter but because it's so perfectly considerate. The film's narration is made up almost entirely of interviews with men who would justify their zoophilic tastes; there is practically no voice of dissent to their tastes, but so great is the implicit, natural aversion to them that the film inherently takes the form of a complex dialogue.

And as for the act itself? It's glimpsed, very briefly, but more than that it's heard. And that, as it always does, turns out to be far worse than what we don't see.

* * *

A documentary about landscape development is probably the last film I'd expect to get emotional during, but I found myself blinking back a few tears here and there during Laura Dunn's The Unforseen, which contains some of the most exuberant depictions of democracy I've ever seen. Afterwards, I wondered if my emotional reaction was because of the subject matter, or because that subject matter was scored by a Sigur Ros song. Then I remembered that, oh yeah, it's a movie - it's both.

Posted by David Lowery at March 15, 2007 11:50 PM


Sorry we missed each other in Austin and thanks for the love. See you soon...

Posted by: AJ at March 17, 2007 03:25 PM