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The First Doc Opera?

The First Doc Opera?

I just dropped off Jonathan Caouette at the airport in Austin. He’s on his way to London for the London Film Festival premiere of his documentary Tarnation. Last night, SXSW hosted a screening of the documentary at the famed Dobie Theater. It drew a good crowd, a nice Q&A, and dozens of new fans of Jonathan.

Watching the film for the third time last night (and being moved to tears), it really struck me how much it resembles a rock opera, in a sense. It makes great use of tragedy, theater, epic rock songs, costumes, make-up, and the long journey of a tortured protagonist. But it’s a documentary. So would that make it a “doc opera?”

Are there other doc operas as successful and smart? Is this the first?

In the meantime, check out this brief but nice interview my Austin Chronicle colleague Marc Savlov did with Jonathan.

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