Tarnation


1h 28m 2004

Brief Synopsis

Part documentary, part narrative fiction, part home movie, part acid trip. A psychedelic whirlwind of snapshots, Super-8 home movies, old answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films, snippets of '80s pop culture, and dramatic reenactments to create an epic portrait of an American fa

Film Details

MPAA Rating
NR
Genre
Documentary
Drama
Experimental
Release Date
2004
Production Company
Wellspring Home Entertainment
Distribution Company
LES FILMS S+VILLE/WELLSPRING/WELLSPRING HOME ENTERTAINMENT; Arsenal Filmverleih; Arthaus (Norway); Eye International; Gutek Film Sp. Z O.O.; Les Films Séville; Les Films Séville; Lumière Publishing; Mikado Film; Nippon Herald Films, Inc; Noble Entertainment (Sweden); Studiocanal UK; Wellspring Home Entertainment; Wellspring Home Entertainment

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m

Synopsis

Part documentary, part narrative fiction, part home movie, part acid trip. A psychedelic whirlwind of snapshots, Super-8 home movies, old answering machine messages, video diaries, early short films, snippets of '80s pop culture, and dramatic reenactments to create an epic portrait of an American family travesty. The story begins in 2003 when Jonathan learns that his schizophrenic mother, Renee, has overdosed on her lithium medication. He is catapulted back into his real and horrifying family legacy of rape, incest, abandonment, promiscuity, drug addiction, child abuse, and psychosis. As he grows up on camera, he finds the escapist balm of musical theater and B horror flicks and reconnects to life through a queer chosen family. Then a look into the future shows Jonathan as he confronts the symbiotic and almost unbearable love he shares with his beautiful and tragically damaged mother.

Film Details

MPAA Rating
NR
Genre
Documentary
Drama
Experimental
Release Date
2004
Production Company
Wellspring Home Entertainment
Distribution Company
LES FILMS S+VILLE/WELLSPRING/WELLSPRING HOME ENTERTAINMENT; Arsenal Filmverleih; Arthaus (Norway); Eye International; Gutek Film Sp. Z O.O.; Les Films Séville; Les Films Séville; Lumière Publishing; Mikado Film; Nippon Herald Films, Inc; Noble Entertainment (Sweden); Studiocanal UK; Wellspring Home Entertainment; Wellspring Home Entertainment

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Winner of the 2004 award for Best Documentary by the National Society of Film Critics (NSFC).

Winner of the 2004 award for Best New Filmmaker by the Boston Society of Film Critics (BSFC).

Winner of the 2004 Target Documentary Award at the IFP/Los Angeles Film Festival.

Winner of the Sutherland Award for Best First Feature at the 2004 London Film Festival.

Released in United States Fall October 6, 2004

Released in United States October 15, 2004

Released in United States on Video May 17, 2005

Released in United States 2004

Released in United States January 2004

Released in United States June 2004

Released in United States October 2004

Released in United States 2010

Shown at London Film Festival October 20 - November 4, 2004.

Shown at IFP/Los Angeles Film Festival June 17-26, 2004.

Shown at New York Film Festival October 1-17, 2004.

Shown at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival (Ripping Reality) April 29-May 9, 2010.

Mr. Caouette began filming himself with a super-8 camera when he was a child and finished "Tarnation" in 2003 on a laptop computer, using ordinary consumer-grade editing software. His initial production costs were $218.

Film consists of the accumulation of 160 hours of material shot on Super-8, Betamax, VHS, Hi-8 and Mini-DV.

Released in United States Fall October 6, 2004

Released in United States October 15, 2004 (Los Angeles)

Released in United States on Video May 17, 2005

Released in United States 2004 (Shown at London Film Festival October 20 - November 4, 2004.)

Released in United States January 2004 (Shown at Sundance Film Festival (Frontier) January 15-25, 2004.)

Released in United States October 2004 (Shown at New York Film Festival October 1-17, 2004.)

Released in United States 2010 (Shown at Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival (Ripping Reality) April 29-May 9, 2010.)

Released in United States June 2004 (Shown at IFP/Los Angeles Film Festival June 17-26, 2004.)