Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, is the central focus of a documentary by Brett Morgen that premiered at Sundance earlier this year. The film, titled Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, is the first official documentary that has the full support of Kurt Cobain’s friends and family and, most interestingly, features some pretty cool animation.
While most traditional bio-documentaries tend to stick to found camera footage, photos, and basic interviews, while only using editing to retain the viewers interest, Montage of Heck uses animation to bring Kurt and his art back to life. This technique is incredibly appropriate, as Cobain was not just a singer/songwriter, but a complete artist who painted and created.
According to CNN, the film (which feels a lot like The Congressin the way it intermingles live action footage and animation) will be released via HBO on May 4th and will also include “a mind-blowing 12-minute acoustic Cobain unheard track.” There will also be an accompanying book which will include archival photos and artwork.
Slashfilm provides the Sundance Film Festival’s description of the documentary:
Experience Kurt Cobain like never before in the first fully authorized portrait of the famed rock music icon. Director Brett Morgen expertly blends Cobain’s personal archive of art, music, and never-before-seen home movies with animation and revelatory interviews with his family and closest confidants. Following Kurt from his earliest years in Aberdeen, Washington, through the height of his fame, a visceral and detailed cinematic insight of an artist at odds with his surroundings emerges.
While Cobain craved the spotlight even as he rejected the trappings of fame, his epic arc depicts a man who stayed true to his earliest punk rock convictions, always identifying with the “outsider” and ensuring the music came first.
The animation featured in the trailer seems to be derived from the artist’s personal artwork, which has been expanded on, and is darkly beautiful:
Admittedly, this documentary will only appeal to a niche few that still have a fondness for 90s grunge, Nirvana, and the Kurt Cobain. But, perhaps the animation will attract some unlikely viewers.
How do you feel about mixing live action and animation in documentaries? Will you watch Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck when it comes out?
Mayra Amaya is a Theater graduate from Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ where she also learned filmmaking. Amaya now resides in Brooklyn, NY where she works as an actor, writer and sandwich maker. You can follow her on Twitter (@amayasunwizard).