Courtney Love and daughter Frances Bean “hug” for the first time in years at the US premiere of a new Kurt Cobain documentary.
Putting aside their public fallout that has lasted for years, Courtney Love, 50, made a joint appearance with Frances Bean, 22, her only daughter with late husband Kurt Cobain, at the Sundance Film Festival premiere of a new documentary called Cobain: Montage of Heck.
The truce between the widow and daughter of the leader of the 1990s grunge rock band Nirvana comes after Love granted the film’s makers, which included Frances Bean as an executive producer, permission to use some of the documentary’s materials.
The two were seen hugging on the red carpet, with Love looking very affectionate towards her daughter. Meanwhile, Frances Bean appeared less emotional about the family reunion but nonetheless reciprocated her mother’s affections.
Also present at the premiere was Nirvana’s drummer Krist Novoselic, who appears in the documentary. However, Dave Grohl, the band’s bassist and frontman of The Foo Fighters, who has also had public spats with Love in the past, was conspicuously absent.
Eight years in the making, Cobain: Montage of Heck is a 135-minute multimedia roller-coaster ride of unseen home movies, audio recordings, journal entries, drawings and notebook scrawlings, blended with interview excerpts and concert clips.
The Cobain family granted access to “everything, with no restrictions”, says filmmaker Brett Morgen to the audience, thanking Love for her trust and courage. “Nobody asked for a single cut, nobody asked for a change, which is essentially unheard of in dealing with such an icon,” says Morgen.
Cobain’s heavily distorted brand of guitar music sparked the grunge rock movement of the 1990s, earning him an unwanted label as the voice of Generation X. The title of the documentary derives from the name of a mix tape Cobain recorded in the late 1980s.
The film shows Super 8 film footage of Kurt as a toddler, blowing out candles on a birthday cake and posing with a toy guitar, as a lullaby version of Nirvana’s smash hit Smells Like Teen Spirit plays in the background.
His parents describe their child as an angel, but also a whirlwind whose activity they tried to control with Ritalin. They speak about their divorce and how Cobain was pushed between different homes as a teenager. Video scenes show Cobain as a sullen youth, with his own voiceover describing how discovering marijuana and punk music helped him cope with a profound feeling of isolation.
Blowing the myth
The second half of the film gives an intimate peek into Cobain’s life with Love. There is Cobain on a bed, singing the Beatles song And I Love Her which was written by Paul McCartney. “And that kind of blows the myth, I mean, you would think Cobain would have done a Lennon song,” says Morgen.
Later, Rolling Stone journalist David Fricke is heard asking Cobain about the outtake I Hate Myself and Want to Die from his latest album. “Either you’re being really satirical, or you’re going to a real dark place here,” he says. Cobain’s only response is a chilling laugh. In April 1994, he committed suicide aged 27.
The final shot of the film, however, shows Cobain at the end of the MTV Unplugged session, simply thanking the audience. “I don’t really care about the last days of Kurt Cobain,” explains Morgen. “I was trying to make a movie that celebrated life, not death.” – Reuters