INTRODUCTION TO SCREEN ANALYSIS
TOPIC: An analysis of the documentary Kurt & Courtney, 2004.
This essay is an analysis of the documentary ‘Kurt & Courtney’ directed and narrated by
Nick Broomfield. In an attempt to expose its directive function (Glossary of Terms, 1997
p.19), this analysis will endeavour to show that the documentary’s very structure
immediately casts the interviewer as the underdog. He projects a very casual, easy going
character who just wants to find out the truth, but is constantly thwarted at every corner
by lack of financial backing and denial of access to Kurt’s music. By placing the viewer
in the front seat right along with him it immediately makes for audience empathy as they
share his ‘point of view’ (Glossary of Terms, 1997 p. 49) through the eye of the camera.’
The hand held camera is literally in the front seat of the car with Broomfield as he sets
out to examine the unexplained circumstances of the singer’s death.
This direct-cinema documentary uses rhetorical form (Bordwell & Thompson 2008,
pp.340 & 348) as Broomfield presents an argument on the questionable suicide of Kurt
Cobain. It also takes on categorical form (Bordwell & Thompson 2008, p.343) as it
introduces two sides to the argument, one that perhaps Kurt did indeed kill himself after
falling into depression over the stresses of fame and the immanent collapse of his
marriage and the other suggesting Courtney’s involvement by her cold blooded
determination to find a rock star and manipulate him to succeed and then get him out of
the way and use his position to further her own career.
The documentary’s diegetic narration is done by the Director through direct address
(Glossary of Terms, 1997 p. 18). Broomfield investigates the unexplained circumstances
of Kurt’s death and suggests that it may not be simply a suicide, but that he was possibly
pushed into taking his own life or indeed, even murdered, by his wife &...