7.2/10
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114 user 73 critic

Tarnation (2003)

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2:22 | Trailer

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Film-maker Jonathan Caouette's documentary on growing up with his schizophrenic mother -- a mixture of snapshots, Super-8 film, answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films, and more - culled from nineteen years of his life.

Director:

Jonathan Caouette
9 wins & 12 nominations. See more awards »

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A guided tour through the shattered remains of memory and identity.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Renee Leblanc Renee Leblanc ... Herself
Jonathan Caouette ... Himself
Adolph Davis Adolph Davis ... Himself
Rosemary Davis Rosemary Davis ... Herself
David Sanin Paz David Sanin Paz ... Himself
Joshua Williams Joshua Williams ... Himself
Michael Cox Michael Cox ... Guy cussing in short film
David Leblanc David Leblanc ... Himself
Stacey Mowery Stacey Mowery ... Herself
Michael Mouton Michael Mouton ... Himself
Greg Ayres ... Himself (as Bam-Bam)
Vanda Stovall Vanda Stovall ... Herself
Dagon James Dagon James ... Himself
Vivian Kalinov Vivian Kalinov ... Herself (as Girl in Student Film)
Steve Caouette Steve Caouette ... Himself
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Your greatest creation is the life you lead


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

10 November 2004 (France) See more »

Also Known As:

Kolastirio See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$218 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$12,740, 10 October 2004, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$592,014, 27 May 2005
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It cost $218 to make but the budget rose to $400,000, once music and video clip royalties were included. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Renee Leblanc: [singing] This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine.
See more »

Connections

Features The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1982) See more »

Soundtracks

Laser Beam
Written by Low
Performed by Low
See more »

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User Reviews

 
please read this..
20 November 2004 | by gottkvoldSee all my reviews

I thought this movie was a masterpiece and something a lot of people really should see. I disagree with what some of the other people have been saying on this, because you don't need to identify with this movie. Its not meant to only effect people who have mentally ill parents or are homosexual. A movie doesn't have to be suited to you for you to enjoy it, that's a really selfish thing to say. The fact that someone is showing what its like using their own life in complete truth is amazing. (to some of the people who commented): stop criticizing everything that isn't perfect and not as entertaining as you wanted it to be and try and learn something from it. It seems like no one can just once put themselves in someone else's shoes and see what their lives are like without complaining and being disgusted. Try to be more open minded and give something a chance without prejudice. Its just like if you do something and the whole time your saying in your head how much you hate it, your obviously not going to like it.

I don't really care though, because I really liked it. It just makes me mad when people can just trash such hard work. So what, the movie was upsetting, you didn't have to actually be put through it, why are you complaining.

In contrast I think the movie was very uplifting how it turned out. Although I can agree that its not something you would watch if you just want to be entertained, but its still worth watching and I can guaranty that if you see it with good expectations, you'll like it. It was an extremely interesting film and also very much original. I definitely recommend it to anyone that is interested in psychology. The movie itself is very well shot and has great sound and music. Again, I think most people will be happy they saw it and please disregard what others say (and what I say). See it and decide for yourself.


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