directed by Jonathan Caouette
USA 2003

 

Learning that his mother has overdosed on lithium, Jonathan Caouette begins to revisit the past of his family and its haunting remnants of a legacy of mental illness, abuse and neglect, and we with him, as Caouette has been recording his life since he was 12 and now is recorded every second of it.

To watch “Tarnation” is uncomfortable, as one is brought face to face with on one side Caouettes gay narcissism and precocious mind, being drag at 11 and staging a musical version of “Blue Velvet” in High School, who compulsive touches his own face, who talks about himself in the third person, on the other side with very intimate situations dealing with a dark family history. If there is a line between objective subjectivity and subjectivity, “Tarnation” has crossed this line. For me, this is too private.

But even so, being a visual confession, the story Caouette is telling is disturbing. The more real it becomes, the more unreal is seems, and at the end, it plays like a feverish dream, where images come and go without any logic. Part documentary, part collage, part confession booth, part artfilm, "Tarnation" is an utterly unique movie experience.

Henrik Sylow

Posters

Theatrical Release: October 19, 2003 (New York Lesbian and Gay Film Festival)

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DVD Review: Optimum - Region 2 - PAL

Big thanks to Henrik Sylow for the Review!

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Distribution

Optimum

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:31:14
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 7.36 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital English
Subtitles No subtitles
Features Release Information:
Studio: Optimum

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Jonathan Caouette
• Short Film By Short Film Competition Winner Selected By Jonathan Caouette

DVD Release Date: July 25, 2005
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Chapters 12

 

 

Comments There really isn't much to say about the picture. Ranging in quality from 8mm and beta to modern digital cam, and having been edited on a iMAC, the image is what it is. Sound is 5.1 Dolby Digital and sounds like what it is again.

This is a visual and audio collage, and any discussion of it as such should disregard quality of material.

One thing is to watch this film in the theatre, but to watch it with the commentary makes it a completely different film. Caouette gives a very personal and informative commentary, really adding to the film, answering many questions we would have watching it. Having seen the film at the theatre and now on DVD with the commentary, it now feels complete.

 - Henrik Sylow

 

 





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Distribution

Optimum

Region 2 - PAL


 




 

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