Screened as part of NZIFF 2007
One of the most original and intensely evocative documentaries ever made about Kurt Cobain and yet, miraculously, apart from a few stills, the tortured musical genius does not actually appear on screen – nor is any of Nirvana's music heard on the soundtrack. Instead, director AJ Schnack has sifted through hours of tape-recorded interviews given by Cobain in the latter years of his life to a trusted journalist, Michael Azerrad. He has then melded the musician's reflections with a superb montage of impressionist images filmed in places important to him. The result is a complex and haunting portrait that demystifies Cobain, allowing the man to emerge from the legend. His introspections range widely and deeply, revealing his childhood and unsettled family dynamics, his musical tastes, dreams and fears, his relationship with Courtney Love, and how he deals with abrupt celebrity that devolves into tabloid notoriety. This encounter with a sensitive, perspicacious and insecure iconoclast possessed by a heightened sense of being different (while also considering himself "a product of a spoiled America") vividly evokes the generation his music so deeply affected.