Tuesday, 16 May 2006

The Devil and Daniel Johnston

Over the weekend I saw The Devil and Daniel Johnston, a documentary about the musician and artist Daniel Johnston. It was a very funny, touching and sometimes sad story about a very gifted guy who has battled with mental illness.

The documentary is presented in chronological fashion and doesn’t assume that you already know much about him. Which most people don’t.

The film begins with Daniel’s precocious upbringing when the seeds of his creativity were growing. It features many of his early home movies, which were quite sophisticated for the time. This being the early 80s. They are also pretty funny.

It features interviews with all the people who were close to him and saw his career develop and fall apart first hand. We also see some of his early performances.

What comes across is that his song writing is brilliant, even if his singing, piano and guitar playing aren’t. He’s also very prolific.

My favourite bits were his manager being compared to Broadway Danny Rose and the family album…This is a photo of Daniel being taken away by the cops…this is him being wheeled into hospital.

The movie’s website is packed with a lot of interesting stuff.

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