Kurt Cobain, legendary lead singer, guitarist and songwriter of Nirvana, “the flagship band of Generation X”, remains an object of reverence and fascination for music fans around the world – and for the first time his story will be told in Cobain: Montage of Heck, a fully authorised feature documentary in cinemas nationally from 7 May.
Oscar nominated filmmaker Brett Morgen is writer, director and producer of Cobain: Montage of Heck, and was given unprecedented access to Cobain’s personal and family archives by the late rocker’s estate.
Morgen weaves together moving first–person testimony from Cobain’s mother and sister, his widow, Courtney Love, former girlfriend Tracy Marander, ex–bandmate Krist Novoselic and others with Cobain’s own words in an unflinching tribute to a contentious and contradictory talent.
Co–produced by Universal Pictures International Entertainment Content Group and HBO Documentary Films, visual artist Frances Bean Cobain, Cobain’s daughter, is executive producer.
“I’m extremely grateful to Courtney Love and Frances Bean Cobain for granting me unfettered access to Kurt’s possessions,” said Morgen.
“There were over 200 hours of unreleased music and audio, a vast array of art projects, countless hours of home movies and over 4,000 pages of writings, which together provided a new perspective on an influential and prolific artist who rarely revealed himself to the media.”
Using Cobain’s artwork, photography, journals and family photographs as inspiration, the filmmakers have produced original animation to illustrate important moments in his life.
Eight years in the making, Cobain: Montage of Heck chronicles the life of the legendary musician through a lifetime’s worth of work. Idealised by his mother and belittled by his father, Cobain discovered punk rock as a troubled teen.
“A friend of mine made me a couple of compilation tapes,” he remembers in an audiotaped interview.
“I was completely blown away. They expressed the way I felt socially and politically. It was the anger that I felt, the alienation. And I realised that this is what I’ve always wanted to do.”
By 1991, Seattle–based rockers Nirvana released their breakout hit Smells Like Teen Spirit, taking the music world by storm with a sound that came to represent the youth of the decade. Fans and those of the Nirvana generation will learn things about Cobain they never knew while those who have recently discovered the man and his music will know what makes him the lasting icon that he still is today.