Friday, June 17, 2005

Tarnation (2003)

'Literally dazzles'?! Literally? I hate that!!! It's not literal! It's figurative!!!


Starring: Jonathan Caouette, Renee Leblanc

Directed By: Jonathan Caouette

Overview: A man's self-filmed documentary about his life with focus on his schizophrenic mother.

Acting: This filmmaker actually was an actor for a time, but it seems his best moments are the ones from his youth, very haunting stuff. His mom, in the end, has some rather disturbing moments captured of her, and it's not so much about "acting" as it is about capturing the right moment. Well captured.
Rating: 7

Cinematography: The images were grainy, old, VHS and Super-8 quality stock footage mostly, and it really would have suffered if not for the excellent editing. Gus Van Sant (one of my favorite directors) co-produced this, and I can see his hand in the look of this film. Overall it had a home-video look, but there were some nice slices of haunting or touching imagery thrown in. Original stuff, if a little unrehearsed.
Rating: 7

Script: The dialogue and the written narration made for a very interesting telling of this tale. It's one thing to know that your mom is crazy, but actually hearing her talk and titter and break-down is another. I was a tad disappointed in this, but it's still good.
Rating: 6

Plot: The story is one worth telling. A true everyman tells us a story about his life and we see it unfold into anything but an everyman scenario. With stories of abuse, madness and homosexuality, we find some very unique ideas stemming forth.
Rating: 7

Mood: The mood was a little disjointed I found. We were immersed in this kid's life but at the same time the different edits and quick scenes made for a film that I would have liked to get into a bit more than I did. I wasn't as troubled as I should have been, not as happy at the good times, because of the limited stock.
Rating: 6

Yeah, well Gus Van Sant said he could produce this but I'd have to blow him... no I'd really like to anyways, but it is ETHICAL?

Overall Rating: 66% (Fine, I Guess)

Aftertaste: I expected a lot more from this, and the timing was great. Late afternoon on a Friday before going out made for a nice early evening prep, but I think I'll remember the company more than the film itself. I've seen better montages of this style, including the amazing Etre et Avoir. See that one if you have the chance, wow.