Monday, September 1, 2008

Tarnished Damnation

I just watched the movie Tarnation tonight by Jonathan Caouette and it sent my entire world upside backwards and on its ear. The idea of the film is a "documentary" following his life from a young age with his schizophrenic (?) mother and rather odd grandparents.... Sound familiar, thus far? You have no idea. It was almost unnerving to me at times because it was as though someone had crept into my room, rifled through my locked boxes and turned my journal into a film - with changes made for artist license, of course. It reminded me of the (strange) child I was - dreaming of one day being on Broadway in Hair... Closest I got was playing Frank is RHPS at the Waverly and getting beaned in the head with an airbourne roll of toilet paper - but hey, who can complain. Rambling... He quotes The Exorcist. I look up, and on my bulletin board at eye-level is "In forgetting they were trying to remember." The last line of the book. He did some bizarre Marianne Faithful play (?) in high school - and any of you that know me well enough know that The Ballad of Lucy Jordan is on more than one of my burned CDs. Cocteau Twins. The Andy Warhol/Paul Morrissey films. A non-existent/absent father named Steve. Raised by grandparents. It was just odd how dead on so many little things were.

There was a scene where his mother was telling him how wonderful she was and that he didn't appreciate her and all I could here was my own mother telling me how she "was a good mother." I just could never figure out to whom this happened. It certainly wasn't me. Like I told a friend of mine earlier tonight, though, I really can't complain because had I not survived all that I have survived - the abuse - the rape - the drugs - my sister's death - more abuse... So on. Had I not made it through all that, I would not have the voices and visions and inspirations that give birth to my art. In the murderous death of my childhood, an artist was born out of the necessity to stay sane in the roar of it all. Chaos equalled creation. Hence my tattoo... But that is a whole other post...

It's odd that this movie came about when it did, too. I have just finished reading the entire Augusten Burroughs repertoire (yes, again) - which is similar in context except that his mother gave him away to her psychiatrist - and was perusing Crime Library - as I often do - and realized that not that different of circumstances happened to people like myself, Augusten, and now Jonathan that also happen to a myriad of serial killers and various other nutbags... It just makes one wonder WHAT the difference is that makes one person kill the neighbors cat and eat it and makes another person pick up a pen or a paint brush or a video camera and redesign the world in which he lives. Where is that line. If anyone should be hacking people up for shits and giggles, I doubt anyone would be the least bit surprised had I turned out as such. What is it that makes one person destroy and another create when they came from the same hellish upbringing.

I dunno - I don't know that I am making a whole lot of sense. I am still a little stunned by the film. The credits had run, finished and shut off entirely before I even realized I was just sitting there staring at the screen. It really was an utterly amazing piece of art. In context and in style. If you ever come across it, make it worth your while to see it. You won't be disappointed.

To be continued....