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KURT AND COURTNEY

SYNOPSIS:
Documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield sets out to explore the life and death of Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of the hugely successful grunge rock group, Nirvana. Meeting various family members, friends and acquaintances of both Cobain and his wife and fellow rock artist, Courtney Love, Broomfield not only hopes to discover some childhood catalyst that may have led to Cobain's fame, drug use and suicide, but he also investigates allegations that Love may have been responsible for her husband's death. Along the way, Broomfield meets Kurt's Aunt Mary who encouraged and recorded his early musical efforts, and Courtney's father, Hank Harrison, who, when not selling books about Cobain, believes his daughter killed the rock star. He also interviews a variety of other people, including Kurt's buddy, Dylan, Courtney's ex-boyfriend, Roz, and an odd character by the name of "El Duce" who claims Love offered him money to kill her husband.

"Conspiracy theories always make fascinating films, and the untimely suicide of drug-addicted punk rocker Kurt Cobain has always lent itself to the possibility that he was murdered. Even more fascinating, if one were to believe documentarian Nick Broomfield in this compelling and controversial film, is the implied assertion that Cobain's power-hungry wife, one Courtney Love, was possibly responsible for her husband's death. But Broomfield's film is not a simple tale about Cobain's death; as usual, with this unique British director, the film has more to do with the nature and misuse of celebrity power, media and journalistic manipulation, and the role of documentary cinema itself. Broomfield always plays a direct role in the relationship between filmmaker and subject, which often makes his films stand out in an art form which tends to be objective, but not here. Kurt and Courtney is a film about Broomfield's insistent attempts in getting the truth behind a façade, and his final confrontation with Love emerges as somewhat hesitant and silly. As a portrait of this seemingly mismatched pair, however, Kurt and Courtney is extraordinary, a compelling insight into an anarchic, drug-frenzied world of music, power and fame, and the results are provocative and at times chilling."
Paul Fischer

"Broomfield has found plenty of Cobain and Love’s friends, relatives and associates willing to wax lyrical about the circumstances surrounding the grunge-rockers controversial death. Smells like team conspiracy? Not really. Half the testifiers have a book to peddle and the other half hold no truck with the putative conspiracy; they simply take the opportunity to launch a public diatribe at Love. The lady isn’t wanting for enemies, but most of them aren’t prepared to implicate her in murder. Broomfield’s droll presentation-style and his ability to elicit spontaneous interviews with a bevy of vindictive reprobates and sleazoids provides some perverse humour – sort of akin to "Candid Camera, the debauchery-edition" – but as a piece of tawdry muckraking the film is incredibly lame. Broomfield’s constant whining concerning the attempts of Love’s power-brokers to sabotage the making (and screening) of the film is naive; he focuses much of the films attention on the narrator (himself), which is pretentious; and he describes Cobain as "a brilliant artist", which suggests a recent brain haemorrhage. The personal grandstanding occasionally pays dividends (particularly when Broomfield jumps on stage at a civil liberties ceremony); more often, it’s extremely annoying. Love is obviously no saint, but who cares? Her own fans would surely be unimpressed with any other suggestion. You have to admire her for one thing though: Kurt and Courtney is being billed as ‘the film Courtney Love doesn’t want you to see’. Hear, hear."
Brad Green

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KURT AND COURTNEY (M)
(US)

DIRECTOR/PRODUCER: Nick Broomfield

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Joan Churchill, Alex Vendor

EDITOR: Mark Atkins

MUSIC: David Bergeaud

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Palace

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 17, 1998

VIDEO RELEASE: July 12, 1999
VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow Home Entertainment
RRP: $24.95







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