Film Hick: Kurt Cobain – About A Son (2006)

about-a-son Directed by: AJ Schnack. Rated: 15. Running Time: 96 Mins. I would think that one thing you would want to ask yourself about a project that you were embarking upon would be what form does this need to take? Namely, is it a book, a piece of music, or should it be a film? I suppose if you fancy yourself a film-maker then the answer is obvious. What do the visuals really add to this film? For me, having followed Nirvana through their career and having read Cobain’s journals I have to say not a damned sight. Sure, there’s some nice scene setting and you get a kind of touristy view around places that figured in Cobain’s life but what are we supposed to draw from the procession of regular folk and alternative types that are wheeled out before us? That he was just like us? That these are the kind of people he was around all the time? Is that useful? Well, to me the filmic element of this seemed totally unnecessary, and I am sure that I have read in a few places that this was an example of sensitive film-making that gave us a new insight into Kurt. I won’t question the new insight assertion but I would ask from whence does this come? The answer which I think is easy to provide is Cobain’s voice, Cobain speaking in reponse to a largely unheard journalist. How much comes from the director? Some careful editing perhaps? I mean this came from 25 hours worth of material. Would it have been better if it had just been released as an audio piece? Unadulterated Kurt? Because the problems this suffers from strike me as being like those faced by songs back in the days when not everyone made videos and they let Pan’s People loose on them — the idea of what should be on screen tends to either be way too literal or wilfully obscure. I know I’m coming late to this but it was free on the TV and that was the only reason I watched it; I got sick and tired of the circling vultures who the music and the man meant nothing to jumping on the bandwagon and trying to milk the dead rock star so I avoided stuff like this for a long time. It was worth it to hear something that hadn’t been pared down to pullquotes and the usual rockstar or anti-corporate rockstar bullshit. Sure, it’s not the whole picture but it’s better than nothing; just no need for the pciture postcards taped over it all.

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