Montage of Heck is the first authorised documentary on Kurt Cobain, but can it go beyond other films about Nirvana’s iconic frontman?

Montage of Heck is the first authorised documentary on Kurt Cobain, but can it go beyond other films about Nirvana’s iconic frontman?

The trailer has been released for the first official Kurt Cobain documentary, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck, directed by Brett Morgen.

The film features never-before-seen footage of the Nirvana frontman, and includes interviews with Courtney Love, Krist Novoselic and Cobain’s family. It goes where many others before haven’t, giving an unrestricted revelatory glimpse into the whole of Cobain’s life, from infancy to the height of his fame.

Montage of Heck is named after one of Cobain’s mixtapes, which was circulated online last year, and premiered at the Sundance film festival in January. It also features a previously unheard, 12-minute long acoustic Kurt Cobain track.

Courtney Love approached Brett Morgen with the idea for the film in 2007, and gave Morgen and his team access to the entirety of Cobain’s personal and family archives: 200 hours of audio, 4,000 pages of diaries and home videos. Love also granted complete editorial freedom and final edit.

As a result, the film consists of 85% unseen footage and rare material. When the film was finished, Morgen showed it to Love and Cobain’s daughter, Frances Bean, who is listed as executive producer; neither asked for a single edit. The film is an unfiltered celebration of his life, giving viewers glimpses of Cobain as a human being, not as a famous musician. Unlike other documentaries, Morgen’s film doesn’t focus on Cobain’s death, but is a celebration of his life.

Here are a few other documentaries that are essential viewing for Nirvana fans:

Kurt and Courtney

Nick Broomfield’s unflinching investigation into the circumstances surrounding Cobain’s death and caused controversy at the time of its release, in part because Courtney Love refused to speak to Broomfield or license any Nirvana music for the film.

About A Son

Visual essay About A Son layers audio interviews conducted by noted music journalist Michael Azerrad for his book Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana over images of Cobain’s homes and haunts.

1991: The Year Punk Broke

Filmmaker David Markey was on the road with Sonic Youth and Nirvana during their tour of Europe in late 1991. Despite focusing primarily on Sonic Youth, Cobain appears throughout and many Nirvana songs are featured on the film’s soundtrack.

Foo Fighters: Back and Forth

Back and Forth documents the history of Foo Fighters, from Grohl’s time in Nirvana to the recording of their 2011 album Wasting Light. The film includes personal revelations and commentary about the death of Kurt Cobain by Grohl and others, such as Nevermind producer Butch Vig.

Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck is out in the UK on April 10th, and will be broadcast on HBO in the US on May 4th.