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Tarnation (2003) More at IMDbPro »

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Tarnation -- 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.


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Jonathan Caouette (written by)
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Release Date:
10 November 2004 (France) See more »
Your greatest creation is the life you lead
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
9 wins & 5 nominations See more »
(75 articles)
Watch Jonathan Caouette's All Flowers In Time
 (From Twitch. 26 November 2013, 1:35 PM, PST)

Film Review: ‘Bridegroom’
 (From Variety - Film News. 8 October 2013, 2:34 PM, PDT)

Kiss of the Damned | Review
 (From ioncinema. 1 May 2013, 10:00 AM, PDT)

User Reviews:
Lost in Tarnation See more (113 total) »


  (in credits order)
Renee Leblanc ... Herself

Jonathan Caouette ... Himself
Adolph Davis ... Himself
Rosemary Davis ... Herself
David Sanin Paz ... Himself
Joshua Williams ... Himself
Michael Cox ... Guy cussing in short film
David Leblanc ... Himself
Stacey Mowery ... Herself
Michael Mouton ... Himself
Greg Ayres ... Himself (as Bam-Bam)
Vanda Stovall ... Herself
Dagon James ... Himself
Vivian Kalinov ... Herself (as Girl in Student Film)
Steve Caouette ... Himself
Lisa Berri ... Blue Velvet cast
Kelli Brisbane ... Blue Velvet cast (as Kellie Brisbane)

Mike Smith Rivera ... Blue Velvet cast (as Apocalypse Clown)
Miek Coccia ... Blue Velvet cast
Caity Creitz ... Blue Velvet cast

Daniel Letterle ... Blue Velvet cast
Sterling Price McKinney ... Blue Velvet cast
Michael Sillery ... Blue Velvet cast
Layard Thompson ... Blue Velvet cast
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Directed by
Jonathan Caouette 
Writing credits
Jonathan Caouette (written by)

Produced by
Vanessa Arteaga .... executive producer
Jason Banker .... associate producer
Jonathan Caouette .... producer
Marie Therese Guirgis .... executive producer
John Cameron Mitchell .... executive producer
Gus Van Sant .... executive producer
Ryan Werner .... executive producer
Stephen Winter .... producer
Original Music by
John Califra 
Max Avery Lichtenstein 
Cinematography by
Jonathan Caouette 
Film Editing by
Jonathan Caouette 
Brian A. Kates (co-editor)
Production Management
Robert Warmflash .... post-production supervisor
Sound Department
Jonathan Caouette .... sound
Sean England .... digital archivist
Lora Hirschberg .... sound re-recording mixer
Brandon Proctor .... sound mix technician
Daniel Sperry .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby (as Dan Sperry)
Visual Effects by
Jason Banker .... digital effects
Editorial Department
George Bunce .... on-line editor: high definition video
Don Ciana .... color timer
Michael Haertlein .... post-production assistant
Peter Heady .... on-line editor: HDTV
Florence Holdeman .... assistant editor
Brian Patchett .... assistant editor: high definition
Jamila Qazi .... editing coordinator
Shelby Siegel .... additional editor
Music Department
Jim Black .... music supervisor
John Califra .... orchestral score producer
John Califra .... orchestrator
Milan Cimfe .... orchestral score producer
Milan Cimfe .... score ProTools operator
William David Fastenow .... music copyist
Pavel Karlik .... assistant to score recording engineer
Pavel Karlik .... orchestral score producer
Other crew
Mickey Cottrell .... publicist
Tristan Cowen .... assistant to producer
Peter Cross .... legal counsel
Mayur Deshmukh .... production assistant
Don Farber .... legal counsel
Tenley Gillmore .... production assistant
Michael Haertlein .... production assistant
Roberta Morris Purdee .... rights and clearances
Troy Nuyens .... production assistant
Joe Pagano .... plant manager
Wade H.W. Rudolph .... production assistant (as Wade Rudolph)
Tracey Soast .... video coordinator
Joe Violante .... technical advisor
James Bolton .... special thanks
Tristan Cowen .... thanks
Roger Ebert .... thanks
Krystal Kennedy .... thanks
Paul Morrissey .... thanks
Dolly Parton .... thanks
David Sanin Paz .... special thanks
Michael Sillery .... special thanks
Stephen Sprouse .... special thanks
Michael Thornton .... thanks
Dany Wolf .... thanks

DistributorsOther Companies
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
88 min | Argentina:88 min (Mar del Plata Film Festival)
Color (Technicolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

The original cut of the film ran over 2 hrs. and 40 minutes long.See more »
[first lines]
Renee Leblanc:[singing] This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
See more »
Movie Connections:
Features Free to Be... You & Me (1974) (TV)See more »
Ice-PulseSee more »


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31 out of 46 people found the following review useful.
Lost in Tarnation, 17 November 2004
Author: metropeel from Paris

Tarnation is a neologism made from the words tarnished and damnation; that is also the name of a band. The trailer was disturbing and especially the tagline "this movie has saved my life". There is a lot of teenagers who are writing a diary and that is a bit surprising that this kind of movie has never be done before. I'm sure many people have made some kind of patchwork (photos, drawings, movies etc) but the work of Caouette is different. J Caouette had a plan : he wanted to be a director and this plot makes all the difference. This film is not kinky, is not defending Gay and Lesbian cause, is not a documentary about schizophrenia even if all that stuff are a part of the essence of the movie. I believe (but maybe I an wrong) that J Caouette wants to tell his own story of a boy who are fascinated by cinema. I loved this movie because many things had bounced in my heart during the screening. I am not gay, I don't want to work in the cinema business, my parents are not mentally insane but I understand the feelings of Caouette because all teenager has got pain in his heart : shame, fear, anxiety, neither an adult and a child etc. So I remembered memories of pain, tears and laughs. I remembered my own life. Tarnation is also a movie which leads hope and happiness to come. The cinematography is awesome, the music is good. Supported by Gus Van Sant and David Lynch, this movie is like a new born for the youg actor, director J Caouette. This man has got the rest of his life ahead. I think he will become a great actor/director. Go see this unique movie even if the first part of the movie is a bit violent and disturbing.

Gaël - Paris - France

my IMDb vote : 8/10

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Smoke And Mirrors, He Should Be Ashamed of Himself johnathan_dempsey
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Someone please lunankh
Sexually abused? poodles_and_noodles
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