Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Story of a Troubled Artist

by Jeff Feuerzeig

I heard someone talking about The Devil and Daniel Johnston on the radio and they played a bit of one of his early songs. It was haunting and I mentally added it to the list of films that I wanted to see. When I started watching the film it was fascinating and as it progresses it becomes an amazing journey with a person who has a unique, difficult and different life. A distinctive visual artist as well as a songwriter, Daniel Johnston is quite singular and my attempts at describing this film and the man to people usually consists of recounting many of the events that are described in the film. So I won’t do that here. It’s fascinating music and a compelling story that is surprising and told through tape recordings, music, short films, archival footage and interviews. While Johnston’s range of songs can be uneven, the best are great and unforgettable.

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