TTT - Tarnation
Tue 28 June 2005 // 20:00
(Caouette / 2003 / USA / 91mins / 35mm / cert15)
(Tue 28th June / 8pm / £2ttt)
A raw tale of love, tragedy and fierce histrionics hewed from a trove of Super-8 home movies, photo booth portraits, and answering machine messages, Jonathan Caouette's precocious memoir-cum-psychodrama claims a ridiculous three-figure budget (but that can't have included the costs of the beautiful soundtrack with plenty of NICK DRAKE). When he was a boy, Caouette's mother Renee underwent electro-shock therapy that probably broke something that didn't need fixing. With his father gone, Caouette was brought up by his grandparents and managed to find his own niche in Texan subculture.
He has the film material to prove it: a self-portrait at the age of 11 in drag, at the age of 13 in new wave gay clubs lip-syncing to Liquid Sky, a performance of Blue Velvet, the high-school musical featuring the songs of Marianne Faithful. As Jonathan grows up on camera over a two-decade span, he forges an unbreakable, often heartbreaking bond with Renee, discovering along the way his own personal difficulty - depersonalization, an affliction involving feelings of detachment from one¹s own body or thoughts. Tarnation is a strange little outing with a hopeful ending. Dubbed as the first masterpiece of the MTV generation, this is a very compelling film, fasinating and disturbing in equal measure.