Donate Now to Support KDHX

Listen Live
Monday, 29 November 1999 19:00
11/2 - 11/8/2007
Reviewed by Diane Carson
There have been many documentaries abut various musical artists and musical groups. And the films usually follow a rather formulaic pattern: interviews with past and present members of the band, family and friends; struggles in the early days, success, tragedies with alcohol and/or drugs, and finally some insights into fame, some hard-fought awareness, and success again. While the story IS familiar, this does not do justice to director AJ Schnack's imaginative Kurt Cobain: About a Son.

It interweaves music by other groups with selections from over 25 hours of Cobain's own commentary about his life. Journalist Michael Azerrad recorded the audio from December 1992 through April "Ë92 for his book Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana. Cobain's chronologically organized commentary touches on his happiness until eight years old when his mother's divorce had a profound impact on him, his being a geek in high school, stomach pain, seclusion, drugs and his thoughts of suicide. Knowing he ended his life in April 1994 at 27 years of age adds impact.

The audio excerpts and music accompany contemporary shots from Cobain's three important Washington state locations: Aberdeen, Olympia, and Seattle. We see trucks and railroad cars heavy with logs, individuals of all ages facing the camera, roads, businesses, and lovely, haunting scenes of nature. These are presented with superimpositions, lots of tracking shots down streets, fades to black, a smattering of animation, some slow motion and some rapid fire edits. Above all, what distinguishes Kurt Cobain: About a Son is Cobain's honesty about his wanting to fit in, his anger, conflicts, and, of course, the temporary salvation of punk rock, playing the guitar, and Nirvana. I didn't sit down to watch Kurt Cobain: About a Son with enthusiasm, thinking this would be another formulaic documentary. It is not, and its impressionistic visuals invite listening to and thinking about Cobain's observations about himself and ours about him. Those who want a Nirvana performance documentary will not embrace it. Those who want surprises or secrets won't find them here either. But Kurt Cobain: About a Son has a deceptively casual, thought-provoking appeal. At Landmark's Tivoli Theatre through November 8th only.

Sponsor Message

Become a Sponsor

Find KDHX Online

KDHX on Instagram
KDHX on YouTube
KDHX on SoundCloud
KDHX on Facebook
KDHX on Twitter
KDHX on flickr

KDHX Recommends

July
Friday
10

A Muscle Shoals Music Revue with Amy Black and Sarah Borges

Join powerhouse singers Amy Black and Sarah Borges for a soulful celebration of the incredible music that came out of Muscle Shoals, Alabama in the 1960s and 70s. Together, with a full band, they will perform classic songs originally...


July
Saturday
11

Brunch at the Stage: Jonathan Ramsey

KDHX is now curating a Saturday brunch series at the Stage with live music from local musicians and delicious, locally-sourced food and drinks from the Magnolia Café. Brunch at the Stage takes place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m....


July
Wednesday
15

Lunch Beat St. Louis #25 @ KDHX

Lunch Beat St. Louis is a free lunch time dance party to let you slip away from the everyday. Bring your co-workers, and bring your friends because for this party the bigger, the better. The music begins exactly at Noon and lasts...


Get Answers!

If you have questions or need to contact KDHX, visit our answers portal at answers.kdhx.org.

Online Users

2 users and 6891 guests online
Sign in with Facebook

SYSTEM: S5 Box

Login/My Account

Sign in with Facebook