Length: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Release Date: 2005-04-15
Cast: Jonathan Caouette, Renee LeBlanc, David Sanin Paz, Rosemary Davis, Adolph Davis
Director: Jonathan Caouette
Screenwriter: Jonathan Caouette
Our Rating: 4.00
"Unease" is too mild a word for the feelings you'll experience upon opening this Pandora's box of a family history proffered by documentary filmmaker Jonathan Caouette. Unsettling music, sound/image dissonance and other deconstructive techniques lend a sinister edge to still photos and home movies from Caouette's personal collection; as reassembled here, they depict one clan's decades-long struggle with a dysfunction most of us only have nightmares about. The true-life story includes episodes of shock therapy, rape, drug abuse, psychosis and paralysis most of it endured by the director's mother, whose now-fractured psyche is the sympathetic centerpiece of this 90-minute stream of avant-garde consciousness. Yet the doc places equal emphasis on the deleterious effects her prolonged ordeals had on her son, making the project as much a personal exorcism as a tribute. Undeniably compelling, it's proof of the therapeutic potential of filmmaking, but also of our limitless propensity for morbid curiosity.