Archive of films The Devil and Daniel Johnston / The Devil and Daniel Johnston
2005, 109 min
Section: Sundance at Karlovy Vary
Daniel Johnston, a remarkable figure of the American music scene at the end of the 20th century, was called “the greatest songwriter alive” by Kurt Cobain. Intimate, but urgent, melancholy, but nonetheless engrossing – such is Feuerzeig’s cinematic biography of the woesome musician, which shows that the border between genius and madness is often a thin one.
The first mention of the talented youngster from West Virginia, who wrote hundreds of songs about his unrequited love for a girl named Laurie who married a gravedigger, came at the beginning of the 1980s. Daniel Johnston, a notable figure on the American music scene at the end of the last century, was called “the greatest living songwriter” by Kurt Cobain, and cover versions of his songs have been played by the likes of Tom Waits and Pearl Jam, among others. The blossoming career of this promising, original bard was brought to a standstill however by his frequent manic-depressive tendencies. Today the forty-five-year-old Johnston is still living with his parents. Feuerzeig’s film is a masterful combination of shots from the present and the inexhaustible archive of Johnston’s recordings and home videos. Intimate, but urgent, melancholy, but nonetheless engrossing – such is the film biography of the woesome musician, which shows that the line between genius and madness is often a thin one.
About the director
Jeff Feuerzeig is an independent filmmaker from New York living in Los Angeles, originally an editor by profession. Feuerzeig shoots commercials for Washington Square Films. His feature documentary debut Half Japanese: The Band That Would Be King (1994) portrays the rise of an extremely alternative music band. The Chicago Tribune called it “the funniest rock’n’roll film since the time of This Is Spinal Tap”. The Devil and Daniel Johnston is his second motion picture.
About the film
Color, 35 mm
|Section:||Sundance at Karlovy Vary|
|Dir. of Photography:||Fortunato Procopio|
|Production:||This Is That Productions|
Henry S. Rosenthal