Filmmaker Jonathan Caouette's documentary on growing up with his schizophrenic mother -- a mixture of snapshots, Super-8, answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films, and more -- culled from 19 years of his life.
Director Nikita Mikhalkov documents the history of Russia from 1980 to 1991 by annually asking his daughter Anna such questions as "What do you love the most?", "What scares you the most?",... See full summary »
Documentary on the Friedmans, a seemingly typical, upper-middleclass Jewish family whose world is instantly transformed when the father and his youngest son are arrested and charged with shocking and horrible crimes.
Into The Cold--A Journey of the Soul retraces the personal and harrowing expedition of two men on foot to the North Pole in sub-zero temperatures to commemorate the centennial of Admiral ... See full summary »
North Carolina produces more tobacco than any other state in America. Bright Leaves describes a journey taken across the social, economic, and psychological tobacco terrain of North ... See full summary »
Marlon Riggs, with assistance from other gay Black men, especially poet Essex Hemphill, celebrates Black men loving Black men as a revolutionary act. The film intercuts footage of Hemphill ... See full summary »
A documentary look, mostly through the eyes of Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, at her rise and fall as a popular televangelist with husband Jim Bakker. Traces their rise: her teen marriage to ... See full summary »
Tammy Faye Bakker,
'Bi the Way' investigates the recent rise in the "whatever" phenomenon. Featuring interviews this documentary explores the changing sexual landscape of America in a bizarre and hilarious ... See full summary »
J. Michael Bailey,
Part documentary, part narrative fiction, part home movie, and part acid trip. A psychedelic whirlwind of snapshots, Super-8 home movies, old answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films, snippets of '80s pop culture, and dramatic reenactments to create an epic portrait of an American family travesty. The story begins in 2003 when Jonathan learns that his schizophrenic mother, Renee, has overdosed on her lithium medication. He is catapulted back into his real and horrifying family legacy of rape, abandonment, promiscuity, drug addiction, child abuse, and psychosis. As he grows up on camera, he finds the escapist balm of musical theater and B horror flicks and reconnects to life through a queer chosen family. Then a look into the future shows Jonathan as he confronts the symbiotic and almost unbearable love he shares with his beautiful and tragically damaged mother. Written by
Sujit R. Varma
Super-8 auteur Jonathan Caouette, a young gay man with an extremely turbulent life, reveals his troubled childhood through home-movies and stills. The worshipful son of a beautiful ex-child model/single mother/electro-shock recipient, Caouette manages, in surprisingly linear fashion considering the circumstances, to paint a vivid portrait of the ultimate dysfunctional family. His grandparents, who ended up adopting Jonathan after his mother was jailed and he went through the horrors of the foster care system, are revealed as loving yet unconcerned older folks with perhaps a secretive, defensive side; Jonathan's mother Renee, once a striking young woman, is the sad result of "medical expertise" gone shatteringly wrong. The film is alternately assaultive, theatrical (Jonathan revealed a highly acute sense of theatricality and love for outré movies at a very young age), amusing, narcissistic, boring, compelling and, finally, quite moving. There are just as many stretches of questionable sincerity on Caouette's part as there are exhilarating moments--a joyous romp on the beach with mom or a beautiful, revealing childhood lip-synching take on "Frank Mills". The alt-rock soundtrack is superb and Caouette, a handsome, playfully schizophrenic star-in-the-making, is a talent to watch. **1/2 from ****
14 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?