Description from TIFF 2006 catalog by Thom Powers:

Kurt Cobain About A Son is a rock ~n~ roll film unlike any other. There are no cable TV contrivances. No celebrity sound bites. No attempts to mine the grunge aesthetic. Instead, director AJ Schnack has created something quite close to an autobiography of Kurt Cobain. The documentary draws upon a series of audiotaped conversations between Cobain and music writer Michael Azerrad over 1992 and 1993, recorded for Azerrad~s book “Come as You Are: The Story of Nirvana.” Just one year later, Cobain had killed himself.

The Kurt Cobain caught on tape is informal, humorous, angry and candid. We hear his reflections on his upbringing in the Northwest, meeting bandmate Krist Novoselic and the emergence of Nirvana. He speaks openly about his struggles with depression, drugs and fame. On his musical inspirations, he recalls wondering, “How successful do you think a band could be if they mixed heavy Black Sabbath with the Beatles?” On his wife, Courtney Love: “She is a magnet for exciting things to happen.” On the media: “Everyone wants to see us die.”

The film is divided into three chapters “~ Aberdeen, Olympia, Seattle “~ for the three Washington cities where Cobain lived. Schnack photographs these locales with an artistic eye, in gorgeous 35mm film. The Northwest is rendered in vivid detail: the logging sites where Cobain~s father worked, the dive bars where local punks hung out, the endlessly overcast sky. The eclectic soundtrack draws on over twenty bands, ranging from Cobain~s childhood favourite, Queen; to Creedence Clearwater Revival, an unexpected influence; to his Sub Pop contemporaries Mudhoney.

In 1991, Nirvana~s album “Nevermind” skyrocketed out of nowhere to become an influential smash. The pressures of celebrity were crushing to Cobain. “We~re cartoon characters,” he says. “I don~t agree with people saying that everyone has a right to know… I have a right to change people~s way of thinking about celebrities. It should be changed. They should be treated as human beings.” This film finally grants his wish, replacing the one-dimensional constructions of him we~ve come to know with complex, resonant portrait.

About the director:
AJ Schnack was born in Edwardsville, Illinois. He is an independent filmmaker who made his feature directorial debut with Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns) (02), a documentary about the rock band They Might Be Giants. In addition to feature documentaries, he has directed music videos and two short films: Might as Well Be Swing (00) and The Heir Apparent (05). Kurt Cobain About A Son (06) is his most recent film.

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