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Born January 22, 1961, the late Daniel Johnston began expressing himself through art as a child while doctors struggled to accurately diagnose his unusual behavior. In addition to drawing prolifically, he began using a boombox record curiously stirring songs to cassette tape in high school. Following his brother to Texas, he eventually landed in Austin, working unskilled jobs while continuing to record and self-distribute music to friends and friendly strangers. It was clear to everyone that Daniel was not a typical artist - a disquieting innocence, with references to both light and dark spiritual forces, were evident throughout his work. It was this distinctive voice that compelled local musicians to share his art beyond Austin's city limits, culminating in respected indie musicians like Tom Waits, Beck, and Wilco to either record his songs or reach out to collaborate. Four years in the making, THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON honors the complex artistry of Daniel Johnston while ...Written by
fantastic study of mental illness, and our desire to romanticise
I watched this knowing that I am not a big fan of the music of Daniel Johnston, but found it ceaselessly moving and fascinating. No just because of Daniel's unstoppable creativity and heartbreaking slump into ever increasing circles of mental illness, but because of the honesty of people around him. Saying that they were scared, that they just wanted him to go to hospital and get better, the truth... I really thought this film would be a bog standard "worship the romantic tortured genius" thing, but it actually gave you a really authentic feeling of how terrifying and uncontrollable mental illness truly is. Also, let's see more Daniel Johnston cartoons, the bit with the eye ball flying out of the head on the stack of comic books was absolute genius.
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