Rated NR

Documentary, Musical
A strange and largely successful experiment in biographical filmmaking, About a Son shows almost no images of its subject, Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain. Instead, the visuals are things that Cobain himself might have seen: his high school in rural Washington state, the lumber yard where his father worked, the hipsters who he idealized and who later idealized him, and the clubs and towers of Seattle—the city he dreamed of and then learned to hate. It’s all knitted together with hand-drawn animations that look like adolescent notebook doodles come to life. The soundtrack is composed solely of Cobain speaking about his life (taken from a series of interviews he did a year before he died) and the music that influenced him: Queen, the Butthole Surfers, MDC, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jad Fair, etc. Only in the very end do we get a glimpse of Cobain and the sound of his own music. This is more of a mood than a movie, and it eschews narrative in favor of the meandering flow of conversation. At that, it’s a mixed success: The visuals charm, but Cobain’s drone gets a little tiresome. Still, it’s well worth checking out if you want to see an interesting experiment in filmmaking, or if you just want to live 90 minutes through the eyes of Kurt Cobain.


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