Preview by: Jack Foley
A FILM which cost just £124 ($218) to make turned into
one of the surprise hits of this years Cannes Film Festival.
Tarnation, an autobiographical documentary, from director, Jonathan
Caouette, received a standing ovation from audiences when it was
screened for the second time at the festival, a move which reduced
its young film-maker (and star) to tears.
The film in question chronicles Caouettes life-story, from
the time his mother required shock therapy, through to his own
abuse while in foster care, and the worsening of his mothers
condition as a result of her treatment.
Canouette began filming himself and his family at the age of
11, during which he would also create movie fantasies for himself,
as a means of escape.
The result is a movie which splices the home movie footage together
to create what the BBC has hailed as a moving and uncomfortable
Whats all the more remarkable, however, is that Canouette
did it using a home computer, with basic editing software, completing
the film at a fraction of the price of a Hollywood blockbuster.
Needless to say, the 31-year-old star in the making was flabbergasted,
not to mention humbled, by the reaction his film drew from the
In an interview with BBC Online, he said: "It felt like
a flash was going to go off and everything was going to freeze
frame and credits were going to roll and I was going to wake up
from some elongated dream that I've been having."
However, he remains tremendously proud of his achievements and
said that the process of turning his life into a film was something
he needed to go through - even though the process of editing it
had brought back some extremely painful memories.
Tears were a common part of the process.
But his efforts were rewarded when acclaimed directors, Gus Van
Sant (Good Will Hunting/Elephant),
and John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch), came on
board as executive producers, after liking the film so much.
As a result, the films reputation has simply grown and
grown, particularly in light of its similar success at this years
Sundance Film Festival, after which Caouette found himself being
hugged by strangers who had been so moved by it. It played at
Cannes as part of the prestigious Un Certain Regard section.
Needless to say, Canouette has subsequently become one of the
festivals hottest properties, and claims he has received
several offers for future projects.
But he insists he will not ditch Tarnations style and insisted
he would continue to be inspired by directors such as Lars
Von Trier in future.