Jandek on Corwood

Finally making its way into select theaters right now is probably one of the most anticipated films by the tiniest subset of outsider/fringe music fans. For those reading who don't know, Jandek is an enigma shrouded in mystery: a one man band who doesn't give interviews, doesn't perform live, and only releases records from beind a post office box registered to Corwood Industries. Unsurprisingly, this film is far from a conventional music documentary. Jandek on Corwood is more of a documentary of the mystery of Jandek rather than the man behind Jandek, himself. There's no live concert footage, there are no artist and friend accounts of influences and origins, and there is no information of the inspiration behind the man often accused of not knowing how to tune his own guitar. With the surprisingly small amount of material to work with, filmmakers Chad Friedrichs and Paul Fehler have done an amazing task of incorporating a lot of stylistic images to go hand in hand with the photographs that grace the covers of the Jandek album releases. Interviews are held with fringe music store employees and a handful of music journalists who have had the rare brush with Jandek, via mail or phone. It starts off interesting but after a long time it becomes tiresome. The stories of other people's experiences and ideas and imaginations begin to grow old along with the repetitious usage of the small amount of photos available. At this point, everything changes and what emerges changes everything and in any screening room, movie theater, or house, silence falls. As the voice appears through the movie a pin drop could have been heard where I saw the film. We might never know the answers but then again, maybe we're not supposed to. Honestly, our imaginations have the potential to be far more interesting than the truth. If the film has passed you by or isn't coming close, a DVD is due very soon, but I would say this is one of those things to see once in a theater with your closest music geek friends, whether you love, hate, or haven't even heard Jandek.