Tuesday, July 8, 2008

DVD of the Week: "Jandek on Corwood" (Chad Freidrichs, 2003)


This strange documentary about avant-garde musician Jandek doesn’t seek to define the reclusive artist, and that is precisely why it works. By exploring fans, friends, and others who have fallen under Jandek’s simplistic, rambling mystique, Jandek On Corwood is an interesting document on the artist, and even more interesting in the way it reflects a culture obsessed with definitions. Though Jandek may be far from a conceptual genius, yet his influence is made clear without the need to know anything about the person behind the bizarre work. Jandek On Corwood is a quiet and simple documentary, but beneath the surface there is much to discover and even more to think about.

2 comments:

chuck williamson said...

I'm actually a pretty big fan of Jandek, but I absolutely loathed this documentary when I saw it years ago. It was, quite frankly, a bit of a mess, with little substance and a lot of navel-gazing. In all honesty, it felt as if the film was little more than a life support system for the subpar interview that concludes it. I understand that they didn't have much to work with, but it felt largely superficial and overly-speculative.

As far as documentaries on outsider musicians go, I prefer The Devil and Daniel Johnston.

But, as a primer for Jandek, I can see it having some value.

James Hansen said...

Thanks for the comments, Chuck. I didn't know anything about Jandek before I saw the documentary and find artists such as him really interesting so maybe that was enough of a draw for me. I actually haven't seen the film for a few of years, but think about it from time to time. I figured very few people have heard of it, and don't know how much people know about Jandek, so it seemed like a film worth promoting, at least to me. More as a primer for Jandek, I suppose, than exclaiming it as top-notch filmmaking.

"The Devil and Daniel Johnston" is a superior film for sure and one very much worth everyones time...I was still going for a "less popular" pick here, although its now DVD of the week instead of OVERLOOKED DVD of the week...I'll make that change more noticeable in the coming weeks perhaps...

Thanks again! I'm always just as thrilled to find people who disagree with what I (or any of us) say...discourse discourse discourse!