In spite of not being explicitly autobiographical, Alan Parker‘s 1982 film Pink Floyd – The Wall is among the best musical portraits this writer can think of. Being a heavily-faithful adaptation of the band’s classic rock opera, it, too, uses the story of a burned-out, mentally scarred rock star as the mirror image of its own author — a burned-out, mentally scarred rock star — managing to expand its canvas to look at the failed cultural and societal construction of post-World War II England. How do you express that? A mixture of live-action and animation, the latter of which allows for penetration-like interaction between a pair of flowers (that ensue to bloodily devour one another), heads being bashed in, and a final moral judge bearing a peculiar anatomic construction.
Basically, Pink Floyd – The Wall is a little heavier than Walk the Line. If you’re going to do a musical biopic in its vein, you need to find the sort of subject who befits a beloved, suicidal artist secluded in isolation — to which Kurt Cobain applies. Leave it to Brett Morgen to make an own attempt at the Alan Parker approach. The man behind a recent Rolling Stones documentary, Crossfire Hurricane, spoke to NME about his plans for a Courtney Love-approved biopic that’s more than just a womb-to-tomb portrait (who said Cloud Atlas brought us nothing?), and seemingly different from other attempts at a portrayal. The goal, here, is to show Cobain in all his dimensions — what the director labels as “sincere and sentimental, and also ironic and sarcastic [...] sweet and sour [and] incredibly funny” — which, in his mind, will require two modes of delivery.
By combining live-action and animation, it’s Morgen‘s intent to create “this generation’s The Wall,” a portrait that will open new dimensions to the Nirvana frontman. Hearing him talk about it a little further, it’s easier to understand just why (if not how) he would go that route: they’ve been handed the full cooperation of his estate, and are now granted much of his unseen work — “a treasure chest of comic books, paintings, Super8 films, all sorts.” So, now, they need to get everyone in place if there’s a true intent to make the 2014 release. That’s what Morgen has in mind; knowing his ambitious thoughts, I hope he can make it that soon.
In the meantime, go watch The Wall if you’ve yet to already. Please.
Do you see promise in a Cobain biopic that takes its cues from The Wall?
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