“Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck” may be too grim for Oscar doc voters, who go for heart-lifting music fare like “20 Feet From Stardom,” but an August re-release means that indie distributor Abramorama hopes to build awards buzz for the HBO/Universal co-production. Or at least, they hope to put the movie back in our minds as we head into the Fall season.
Following Sundance and Berlin premieres, “Montage of Heck” played well in LA and NY before debuting on HBO May 4. In a year when music biopics and docs about tortured musicians seem to be everywhere (“Love and Mercy,” “Amy,” “What Happened, Miss Simone?”), “Montage of Heck” is hard to forget. Director Morgen weaves home movies, concert footage and vivid confessionals from Courtney Love and the Cobain family with animated abstractions of the Nirvana frontman’s diary entries and personal horror stories. This is not a hagiographic portrait of the poster-boy of grunge but, rather, a deep-dive into a tormented mind. It’s a great documentary about an artist, but also a great work of art on its own terms.
“Montage of Heck” returns to select cities on August 7. Abramorama has previously released acclaimed docs “Senna,” Oscar nominee “Exit Through the Gift Shop,” “Particle Fever” and more.