There are a slew of compelling music movies at the SXSW Film festival, and most of them continue to screen throughout the week, after the well-heeled nerdcore Interactive crowd has left town and the scraggly Music crowd moves in.
The short list of titles in the 24 Beats Per Second fest category that I'd be happy to spend two hours with include: Jessica Edwards' Mavis!, about gospel great Mavis Staples; Colin Hanks' (Tom's son) All Things Must Pass, about the rise and fall of Tower Records; Brendon Toller's Danny Says, concerning Ramones manager Danny Fields; Joe Nick Patoski's Sir Doug and the Genuine Texas Cosmic Groove, about late Lone Star legend Doug Sahm; and The Jones Family Will Make A Way, Alan Berg's documentary treatment of Mississippi family gospel group.
But there's no question that the most highly anticipated music doc at SXSW is Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, the heartbreaking Brett Morgen-directed saga executive produced by Frances Bean Cobain that tells her father's tragic genius story with loads of remarkable previously unseen home movie footage of Cobain as a boy and when he was married to Courtney Love.
Morgen previously helmed the great Robert Evans' doc The Kid Stays In The Picture, and he's a creative craftsman who, without getting cheesy, uses animation to bring notebook entries and rare Cobain recorded audio to life, including a mixtape the Nirvana leader made called 'Montage of Heck."
The fully movie is full of feeling, and great music, too, and it's set to only add to the Cobain legend. It plays the PFS Roxy Theater at the Roxy on April 30, and will be shown on HBO on May 4.