Film Muse Kurt and Courtney (1998)
I'm in this weird melancholy state right now. I left my home to go back to college today. My boxes have be emptied, and I'm back as a sophomore at "State U" (managed to forget my computer chord somehow...but all is well). I don't feel that freshmen anxiety anymore - perhaps that's where the melancholy kicks in. Instead I feel a bit lost - but not in a bad way. I'm hoping that something will spark my interest here. I'm no longer wanting to reject my education, I just hope I can get what I need- if that makes any sense.
Since I'm in this "life searching" vibe, I remembered this documentary filmed by the BBC called Kurt and Courtney (1998) dir. Nick Broomfield. I really liked this documentary because of it's performative mode construct. There are no answers to this film. None at all. Broomfield mentions theories about Kurt's death (speculations of Courtney's hand in it, etc), but by the end of the film, everyone just sits in awe and wonders why someone with so much passion and thought would decide to off themselves during the peak of their career.
To be honest, I never jumped on the Kurt Cobain fan girl train (trust me, I know that sounds douchey). Nirvana's music was at first too much for me to handle. To this day - hearing "Smells Like Teen Spirit" makes me cringe a little. But that was my first taste. I soon lulled to Nirvana's slower tracks, "Dumb", "Polly", "Something in the Way", and even "Pennyroyal Tea". I realized that my conservative distaste for Nirvana's loud sound was the perfect opportunity to prove myself wrong. As I looked into Nirvana, I realized that Kurt regretted the "fuck you" teenage mentality that "Smells Like Teen Spirit" perpetuated. Maybe not regretted, but grown out of. I think it had something to do with him having a daughter, finding love, and seeing the world's purer side.
What I loved about this documentary was the interviewees. You can see the pain in their eyes when they recall memories of a younger Kurt. An insecure, shy Kurt. Broomfield interviews Tracy, Kurt's first girlfriend of 3 years. She seems a bit apprehensive in the interview, which is relieving. She haphazardly takes the crew around her house, adorned with baby dolls and intriguing artwork- some of which was made by Kurt himself. She mentions how Kurt used to wear layers and layers of clothing to appear bulkier than he actually was, because of bullying. I felt a blow on that one - the fact that they'd known each other that well for him to show his insecurities. The fact that she witnessed his pain and awkwardness like that and they still maintained their love. I don't know, that part got to me. It's hard to explain.
Some of the interviewees are bitter too - just another aspect of how people see others. Here is Ross Rezebek, now foe of Courtney Love. The punk rock Bowie lookalike didn't end up making it big like Courtney, despite their close company in Portland. Apparently, they first met when Courtney threw a drink in his face, denouncing his poser ways. Brilliant.
(Not going to lie, this song is sick)
Then we have Dylan, Kurt's best friend. This one fucked me up real bad too (methy vibes). Dylan skeptically accepts the interview with that appears to be a beer in hand. "If you were his best friend..." Broomfield keeps reiterating, as if Dylan should have known Kurt was going to off himself. This interview was awkwardly intense. People often speculated that Dylan had something to do with Kurt's death because he was a part of the group that found Kurt dead.
"They were both constantly trying to hide it (drug abuse) from each other" - Dylan on Kurt and Courtney.
"Put it this way: If I seriously thought Kurt had been murdered...If I'd thought Courtney was involved... you know if I thought someone-... they'd be dead by now - flat out. I would kill them if I thought that was the case." -Dylan on Kurt's death.
The never before interviewed nanny of Frances Cobain was in this film. Holding a beer, pupils dilated, looking visibly depressed and distraught, the nanny says:
"There was just way too much "will" talk"
"He was more caring than let to be"
It is obvious that she doesn't like Courtney, in fact, she thinks she drove him to suicide.
"If he wasn't murdered, he was driven to murder himself"
But the person that I have the most compassion for is Mary, Kurt's aunt. Throughout the film she is interviewed, playing back old recordings of a 2 year old Kurt singing "Hey Jude", and later screaming what sounds like early Nirvana. She sits there, listening to the recordings in her awesome '90s denim on denim outfit, smiling. Her smile turns a bit - from exhaustion, from sadness, who knows. She is the one this post truly goes out to.
In one of the last scenes, we see her singing to her junior high class in an embarrassingly cheesy and beautiful way. Her students put their head in their hands. I want to shout: DO YOU KNOW WHO THE FUCK IS TEACHING YOU RIGHT NOW? HOW MUCH PAIN SHE HAS PROBABLY GONE THROUGH? HOW MUCH SHE GIVES A FUCK ABOUT YOU AND HOW MUCH YOU PROBABLY DON'T EVEN CARE???
Okay. I'm done. I just have a lot of love for this woman. It's something that I can't explain through writing. You have to see her face - that's where the emotions lie. You have to hear her words. You have to experience her love for Kurt.
With that, there is my version of an ode to those left behind by Kurt Cobain.