The much-heralded, much-anticipated (by moi) Tarnation screens tonight, finishing off the fortunate gem we call Get Real. Jonathan Caouette, the $218 self-obsessive genius himself, will be in the house. I should have some MPEGs of the Q&A here later. But really, why don't you get out of the house?

. . .

  Buy the DVD

Tarnation was a searing, revelatory work of art. Caouette has, over the last 20 years, captured impossibly personal moments from his fractured family life. Now regurgitated into an indie rock digital freak-voyage that aesthetically puts Naqoyqatsi to shame. You could argue (as my friend did) there wasn't enough... stuff to hang a narrative thread on. The precious few moments Cauoette lets the camera play and the confrontations happen were enough for me. The rest of the film feels like sticking my head into a blender with Cauoette's brain: nostalgic flashes of new-wave gayboy, pretty mom, bloody lips, deranged toothless grandma, and nursery school rhymes.

Worthy of the hype? Abso-fucking-lutely.

Jonathan Caouette, Part 1 [MPG, 19.5 MB]
About the history and making of Tarnation and his relationship to the camera.

Jonathan Caouette, Part 2 [MPG, 15 MB]
About his mom and his next film.

We went to the Kitty Kat Klub afterward with Caouette and I guess what you'd call the Minneapolis filmerati: Rob Nelson, the Walker's Dean Otto, Emily Goldberg and Venus, and a bunch of Oak Street cats including Jamie Hook - a veritable force of nature from Seattle who just took over the reigns at Minnesota Film Arts. Lori and I were both drawn to his apparent dynamism. Like, "Who's that guy? He seems really cool. And like he's not from here." I think he's just what this town needs. He saw the beginning of Blogumentary and liked it cuz it was silly. Sounds like there's some possibility of a Bell Auditorium screening.

Caouette was rightly surrounded by adoring fans, so I didn't chat with him. Rob gave him Blogumentary and Venus of Mars DVDs. His film intersects with each of our films in strange ways. Apparently one regret Caouette has about his distribution deal is not owning his baby for 20 years - it's frozen. Can you imagine me not working on Blogumentary any more?

I was pretty off my game socially, for a multitude of reasons. But one things for sure - I need to get my ass out more often, now that I'm not under a big crunch. Lori and I talked about lounging at the Kitty Kat on Sunday nites... a little reading, some laptop action, Irish coffee - we just might make it through the winter alive.

November 10, 2004 at 04:24 PM in Film | Permalink


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Damn, I really wanted to go, but I can never make it to more than one film per festival. Sigh.

Posted by: Sharyn at Nov 11, 2004 7:44:12 AM

i want hot laptop action with you and the kitties.

Posted by: starfire at Nov 11, 2004 9:03:18 AM

Hey! If you and Lori go out this Sunday, can I tag along? I'm working on my NaNo book and the more I get out of the house and away from the Intarweb the better. I bought myself a nifty foldup keyboard for my PDA!

Posted by: spacewaitress at Nov 11, 2004 10:04:38 AM

Tarnation played here in a film festival. Sold out, couldnĀ“t see it. Stupid me...

Posted by: Miguel at Nov 11, 2004 10:33:14 AM

Tarnation definitely is amazing. I just saw it for the 3rd time last night. I've got an interview with Caouette somewhere on my site -- he's one of the nicest filmmakers I've ever met (not that I've met very many).

Posted by: dvd at Nov 11, 2004 6:43:07 PM

Ah, I _almost_ went. It was too damn dark and cold, though. Killed my motivation after a long day of work BS.

I'll have to catch it on DVD or in the theater. (Same with the Patty Hearst movie, I really wanted to see that).

Posted by: Luke Francl at Nov 11, 2004 7:01:30 PM

The Patty Hearst documentary (which was called Neverland until Miramax got upset) was made for American Experience and will be on PBS next year as part of the American Experience. It also is getting a limited theatrical release.

And there is a Tarnation weblog

Posted by: Steve Rhodes at Nov 12, 2004 3:16:40 AM