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Tuesday, June 3, 2008

TARNATION (2004)

Jonathan Caouette ’s collage film about his own physically, psychologically & spiritually dysfunctional family makes spectacular cinematic use of his lifelong accumulation of home movies & confessional asides to tell a deeply disturbing, ultimately warily loving mother/son story. Yet, along with the emotionally devastating saga of foster parents, step-parents, grandparents, traumatic hospitalizations, shock therapy, self-destructive complexes, and enough anxiety & angst to choke a horse, the film engenders an aftertaste of narcissistic glorification that leaves you wondering how much desire to stretch less than an hour’s worth of material to feature length came into play on important life decisions. The film is meant to be unsettling, but not, I think, in this way.

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