Rosemary Davis

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Tarnation Review


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Documenting a personal, traumatic life experience engenders difficult concerns as to how to give it a filmic quality. If the story is dramatic in itself, such as in the case of Capturing the Friedmans, some simple "innocent" shots set against a present turmoil are enough to provoke a mixture of emotions and sustain attention even at quieter moments because you are still trying to digest the surprise that's been put in front of you.

In the case of Tarnation, a look at the writer/director's tumultuous upbringing in Houston, Texas, it's unfortunate that these emotional beats occur more in the sporadic type-written narrative segments that bookend significant steps in his life than when humans are actually on camera. And in order to make up for the fact that the material for the film is derived from the constant home movie footage Jonathan Caouette is always shooting, a lot of coloration and lighting effects are thrown into the mix to ensure that there is a visual element in place. Though these added touches are an attempt to generate sympathy with Caouette's depersonalization disorder illness, they come off as an unfocused, repetitive eyesore that causes your mind to stray from what it's watching.

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Tarnation Movie Review

Tarnation Movie Review

Documenting a personal, traumatic life experience engenders difficult concerns as to how to give it...

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