Tarnation | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Jonathan Caouette started photographing and filming himself when he was 11 during a chaotic childhood under the transient care of an electroshocked, intermittently institutionalized mom, numerous foster parents (some abusive), and his clueless grandparents. Drawing from home movies, answering-machine messages, and movie clips, Caouette famously put together this film for about $200 using iMovie, Apple's rudimentary DV editing program. But it's something of a masterpiece: a confessional experimental documentary with echoes, both conscious and unconscious, of filmmakers from Andy Warhol to John Cassavetes, Stan Brakhage to David Lynch. Gus Van Sant and John Cameron Mitchell signed on as executive producers after seeing a rough cut of the film. 105 min. Music Box.

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