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Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, The Graphic Novel of Documentaries

May 12, 2015 | Opinion | by Amanda

More of an archival dream than a traditional talking head documentary, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck weaves together a brilliantly cut mix of journals, notes, home movies, audio and original animation to tell a compelling story in which we already know the ending.

“I’m Kurt Cobain!”

The tiny voice of a preschool-aged Kurt calling out in an old family recording has stuck with me since it echoed in the theatre.

More of an archival dream than a traditional talking head documentary, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck weaves together a brilliantly cut mix of journals, notes, home movies, audio and original animation to tell a compelling story in which we already know the ending.

As motivated by a pen as he was by his music, Kurt left behind a wealth of creations—clues to an inner life that his aversion to fame prevented him from exposing at the height of Nirvana. The end combination of archival materials with Hisko Hulsing’s original animations and Stefan Nadelman’s energetic motion graphics on Kurt’s journal entries is nothing short of stunning.Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck still

Even as a long-time Nirvana fan (since grade 6, complete with borrowed “older sibling plaid”), I still managed to be pleasantly surprised by choices in the score. Lullaby covers and a choral version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” were used to haunting effect. For those too young to attend early 90s concerts (or non-existent during them), it’s a chance to experience NIrvana’s big sound in a venue full of people (the screening I was at sold out).

Mindful of too much romanticism, the film takes care to include some home movie footage and interview segments that could function as an effective PSA for wayward teens. In the context of how it’s presented, you can finally put some context to the story’s difficult roots, while wishing anything could arise and somehow prevent the end from coming.

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Amanda

Amanda

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