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Devil and Daniel Johnston.mpg
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The Devil and Daniel Johnston is a stunning portrait of a musical andartistic genius who nearly slipped away.
DirectorJeff Feuerzeig exquisitely depicts a perfect example of brilliance andmadness going hand in hand with subject Daniel Johnston. As an artistsuffering from manic depression with delusions of grandeur, DanielJohnston's wild fluctuations, numerous downward spirals, and periodicrespites are exposed in this deeply moving documentary.
Asa reclusive teenager growing up in New Cumberland, VA, Johnston beganshowing signs of unusual artistic ability at an early age. Hereligiously recorded his thoughts and stories onto cassette tapes,directed intuitive Super- 8 films starring himself in multiple rolesala Peter Sellers, and created expressive comic book-style drawings andanimation in the basement of his family's home. However, in the eyes ofhis fundamentalist Christian family, Daniel simply wasn't contributingto society in a useful or productive way. After running off on a mopedand joining a carnival, he landed in Austin, Texas, broke and alone. Itwas there he began to hone his musical career, recording folk songs ona series of homemade, lo-fi cassettes, which Daniel handed out free tofans, friends and journalists in the early 80s. With the help of atimely break and the thriving Austin music scene, Daniel managed tosecure a brief spotlight on MTV making him a minor celebrity. But justas he was beginning to make a name for himself, his inner demons beganto surface and Daniel's ongoing struggle with manic depression becamemore and more evident in his songs and drawings
"The Devil and Daniel Johnston" artfully melds current footage, vintageperformances, home movies, and dozens of recorded audiotapes fromDaniel's life. Testimony from supportive friends and a deeply committedfamily add a rich layer to his personal history, but it is Daniel'spoetic songs interwoven throughout the film, that tell their ownpassionate, haunting, and truly unforgettable story.
Now in his mid 40s, Daniel Johnston has grown into a prolific visualartist. His expressions have earned him worldwide recognition andcritical praise, producing international exhibits where he continues tosell his vibrant and intimate sketches. He has recorded over ten fulllength albums, and his supporters have included Nirvana lead singerKurt Cobain, who was often seen wearing a Daniel Johnston t shirt, MattGroening, The Butthole Suffers, Sonic Youth, noted Minutemen/FIREHOSEbassist Mike Watt, David Bowie, Tom Waits, Beck, The Flaming Lips, andan ever-growing international cult audience.