Filmmaker Jonathan Caouette's documentary on growing up with his schizophrenic mother -- a mixture of snapshots, Super-8 film, answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films, and more - culled from nineteen years of his life.
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Beautiful, shining twist on the best music festival in the world
I've blogged about it in its entirety here: http://niklasblog.com/? p=5074
It's directed by Jonathan Caouette and the festival-goers, most of which contributed film and stills when ATP asked for it, mostly for this documentary. It's notably also shot by Vincent Moon, who's done a lot of Take Away Shows, where he's filmed quasi-famous bands performing their songs (mostly acoustic sets) on the streets.
600 hours of footage that was compiled from fans was edited by Nick Fenton and comprises this collage from 200 contributors. It's surprisingly coherent.
After-show delights from fans (including a girl trying to climb a cottage and failing) and artists (who are fans, of course), people arriving to the resort, history, gigs, snippets of Patti Smith, Sun Ra, Iggy Pop and others from different eras explaining how they feel about music are included, as well as the place in itself. It's a magical place that makes Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland" feel like a commercial trick. The people. The people! The after-shows, the gigs outside people's chalets, the cheap, bad wine from the shop in the center of it all, Lightning Bolt blowing a speaker, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs walking around everywhere, Daniel Johnston sitting in a garden with loads of people hearing him sing and play an acoustic guitar, the sun shining in as the bloody seagulls squawk you awake and as you wake up you push the curtains – with the ugliest print you've ever seen – away from the window to see people returning home from a late late night that never really ends. Not until you leave. But the place sticks, and it's been a part of my heart ever since and it'll never leave, because it's just that beautiful. It's the wind moaning in your ears as you realise it's not the wind, it's the fact that you've just left a small chalet where Scott sits with a laser device, people from The National walk along and you hear bands in the background. Bands? What bands? You don't care, because it's all like one big party where nobody's headlining. It's just music, to paraphrase a guy – who looked a lot like Jerry Garcia – in the documentary. From another time, another age.
I suddenly feel like Hunter S. Thompson at the end of the film "Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas", where he talks and writes of the American election and how it becomes America. The documentary is a part of the experience as much as a piece of the puzzle, and to me it's the bottle that says "drink me". Drink it! And then go to Minehead. You will be a better person for it. Trust me. There is no ego in this. There are no competitions. There's bingo in the early mornings, places to hang out with friends you don't know yet and the best feeling I've ever experienced with them, like you're all weirdly connected through more than music. I love it.
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