FILM: Tarnation (2003)
FILMMAKER: Jonathon Caouette
This film was recommended by my friend – Craig G. We got into a discussion about the most F*ed up movies/documentaries that we’ve seen . I think the conversation started with “Happiness” but, it definitely ended with the documentary “Tarnation”.He said “you have to see tarnation”.
General Plot: Filmmaker Jonathan Caouette’s documentary on growing up with his schizophrenic mother — a mixture of snapshots, Super-8, answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films, and more — culled from 19 years of his life.
Yes, the story was sad. But, I focused on the good things about the film. I got to experience – first hand – how a person’s parents shape them as a child and continue to permeate their life as adult – even if they are nuts. The most impressive thing was the amount of video gathered from the main character’s childhood. I was impressed by the density of footage, audio recordings, and photographs collected for the film. He showed all of his family’s faults. I am sure that wasn’t easy but, hopefully –it was therapeutic.
The film was all about the filmmaker. This was the films advantage and main disadvantage. I can’t imagine the director doing another film. This one was so indulgent. It was the type of indulgent usually reserved for well-known narrative directors like Quentin Tarantino.
I do also really like the film’s tag line. “Your Greatest Creation is the Life you Lead.”
Cheers and Beers — becky beamer
4 out of 5 Cheers.