Kurt Cobain with his band Nirvana. (Photo by Juanky Pamies Alcubilla / Creative Commons License)
Charter Oak High School

Montage of Heck: Kurt Cobain’s documentary to be released this month

In 1994, at the age of 27, singer Kurt Cobain was found dead in his home after he had been missing for several days. The cause of death was gun-assisted suicide. The news left not only close friends and family in despair, but also millions of fans. Even though it was no secret that Cobain was a troubled soul, the news came as a shock.

Cobain was known best as the singer in the band Nirvana. Nirvana was founded in 1987 by Cobain and bassist Krist Novoselic. The band went through five drummers before permanently settling on Dave Grohl. Nirvana came into the mainstream spotlight with their biggest song “Smells like Teen Spirit.”  Nirvana has been called legendary by many in the music world.

Many have not forgotten Nirvana even after 20 years. It became one of the biggest selling bands of all time after selling 75 million records worldwide, 25 million in the United States alone. Rolling Stones Magazine ranked them No. 30 in the Greatest Artists of all Time, and VH1 ranked them sixth in the Best Hard Rock Artist category. In April 2014, a few days after Cobain’s death anniversary, the band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Over the last 20 years, many have tried to make films about the singer, but had little success. In November 2014, Brett Morgen, Oscar-nominated director; Frances Bean Cobain, daughter of Kurt Cobain; and Courtney Love, Cobain’s wife, announced the first fully authorized documentary on Cobain. The documentary is set to be released in 2015 through HBO and will premiere at Sundance Film Festival this month.

This film has two important qualifications that no other had: Frances Cobain as a partner and Courtney Love’s approval. In the 20 years Cobain has been deceased, the family has never cooperated with those who wished to make a film about the singer. Morgan also told The Hollywood Reporter (THR) that it was Love who approached him about creating the documentary in 2007 after being a fan of his film The Kid Stays in the Picture. He also said the Cobain family has given him their blessing and support for the film.

While the film is directed by Morgan, it is produced by Frances. In a press release Morgan has said he had been working on the film for eight years and has been working closely with Frances. Although Morgan told THR that Love had no control over the film because she was “a subject in the film,” he had the blessing and support from Cobain’s family.

The film is being titled “Montage of Heck” after the singer’s mixtape that was made in 1988. According to Pitchfork, Morgan found 4000 pages of writing and over 200 hours of audio and video that has never been seen before. Morgan expressed his surprise by saying, “Like most people, when I started, I figured there would be limited amounts of fresh material to unearth.” This has left many fans anxious, yet excited, to see the film and will continue to build until the film premieres. Until then we can only wait, dealing with the building suspense, to see the rise and fall of the one and only Kurt Cobain.