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Reaching Nirvana

“Kurt Cobain: About a Son” is anything but a conventional rock ’n’ roll biopic.

“Kurt Cobain: About a Son” is anything but a conventional rock ’n’ roll biopic. The 2007 documentary, which receives its cable premiere on what would have been Cobain’s 44th birthday, features no Nirvana music and no video footage of the unlikely rock legend.

“The idea that I had at the start was to only hear Kurt speaking, have some sort of beautiful imagery to look at while you’re listening to him speak and then have some music knitting it together,” says Michael Azerrad, the author whose recorded conversations with Cobain provide the movie’s narrative. The effect is almost like Cobain’s wandering spirit is speaking directly to the viewer.

Director AJ Schnack says the treatment of these visuals was of utmost importance: “Part of our intention in not including archival footage was to say that these towns go on without him, and all these places that were once meaningful to him or changed him in some way ... they’re still there,” he says. “And you see all these things through that lens of: ‘What’s missing from this picture?’”

 
 
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