Gus Van Sant's Trilogy
July 20, MOMA

KURTAIN CALL: A decade after his death, a new movie imagines the final days of Nirvana's elusive frontman

  • Van Sant's Own Private Biopic
    by Rob Nelson

  • Former 'Dawson's Creek' Star Tackles a Mythic Musician
    by Laura Sinagra

  • All Van Sant's Cowboys Get the Blues
    by Joshua Clover

  • Audio Guru Finds a Method for Cobain's Mumbles
    by Joshua Land

  • 'Last Days' Misses Out on Cobain's Populist Passion
    by Robert Christgau

  • Peril-Fraught Subgenre of the Rockstar Movie
    by Jessica Winter

  • April 1994 'Voice' Report on Cobain Suicide
    by Ann Powers
  • To mark the release of Last Days, MOMA is screening Gus Van Sant's good-looking-corpse trilogy in its entirety. Shot in a semi-improvised style with a small crew, all three films are open-ended mysteries, radical attempts to mesh form and content with elastic manipulations of time and space. Gerry (2002), a road to nowhere that led the director out of a creative dead end, is a nightmare wilderness hike indebted to Béla Tarr, Chantal Akerman, and Andy Warhol. The Palme d'Or–winning Elephant (2003), like Gerry , watches spellbound as its protagonists walk—and walk and walk—toward a terrible fate, and draws on another set of influences: William Eggleston, Alan Clarke, and Frederick Wiseman. Last Days synthesizes the lessons of the first two into an organic aesthetic that is entirely Van Sant's own: It's the crowning achievement in the most remarkable career reinvention in modern movies.

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