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Tarnation - Jonathan Caouette

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Movie propaganda

Your greatest creation is the life you lead.

Jonathan Caouette's spellbinding début Tarnation re-imagines the whole idea of what a documentary can be.

Caouette has been documenting his life since he was 11 years old. With Tarnation, he weaves a psychedelic whirlwind of snapshots, Super-8 home movies, answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films, snippets of 80s pop culture and dramatic re-enactment to create an epic portrait of an American family torn apart by dysfunction and reunited through the power of love.

Tarnation begins in 2003 as Caouette learns of his mother's lithium overdose in his native Texas. Faced with the haunting remnants of his past, including a family legacy of mental illness, abuse, and neglect, Caouette returns home to aid in his mother's recovery. Slipping back into the archives of his youth, we watch Caouette grow up on camera, seeking escape from family trauma through musical theatre, B-grade horror flicks and the forging of his identity through popular culture.

Having relocated to New York in his twenties and subsequently attaining peace in the form of a supportive mate, Caouette discovers that family ties are never truly unbound. He rekindles a touching relationship with another victim of a tumultuous childhood - his own mother Renee.

Tarnation is a raw and sensual display of self-destruction and rebirth that announces the arrival of an exceptional new cinematic visionary.

Theatrical propaganda posters

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Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film biography autobiography Jonathan Caouette suicide documentary mother collage mental illness home movies

Persons of interest

  • Jonathan Caouette .... Himself
  • Michael Cox .... Himself
  • Adolph Davis .... Himself
  • Rosemary Davis .... Herself
  • Renee Leblanc .... Herself
  • David Sanin Paz .... Himself
  • Jonathan Caouette .... Screenwriter
  • Jonathan Caouette .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report


Security censorship classification

M (Moderate themes, moderate coarse language, incidental nudity)

Surveillance time

91 minutes (1:31 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 14 July 2005

Cinema surveillance images

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