Kurt and Courtney

Director: Nick Broomfield

Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


The death of rock idol Kurt Cobain shocked his fans tremendously, and despite its official ruling as a suicide, there have been a number of allegations since (including a couple of paperback books) insinuating that more sinister forces were at work. So it is that esteemed documentary filmmaker Nick Broomfield's latest feature, Kurt and Courtney, has a number of different sides that make t entertaining and fascinating, both as a work of investigative journalism and a kind of quixotic parody.

Beginning with a revealing and often poignant focus on Kurt's early years, the film continues on a voyage of discovery that brings Broomfield in touch with the biggest sideshow of characters (sources, family and friends, and interviewees) this side of the circus. Ultimately, when Broomfield decides to question Courtney Love about Cobain's death, the film becomes a self-conscious commentary on documentary filmmaking and tabloid journalism. With the subject expanded from Kurt and Courtney to the cult of celebrity, the ethics of journalism, and freedom of speech, Broomfield eloquently questions everyone and everything as he becomes a character in his own film. No matter how you approach it, Kurt and Courtney is a wonderful hybrid, at once vastly pleasurable and provoking.

Screening Details

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