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Spirit

Jem Cohen

USA, 2007
8 minutes, 37 seconds, B&W , sound, 4:3
Original format: Super 8 film
Available formats: DVD / Digibeta tape / SD Digital file

“Patti Smith asked if I would do a short film to accompany the release of her version of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit. As neither of us are fans of the music video format or industry, we approached the project as a short film, with no lip sync, that would simply try to get at the heart of her version of the song. I shot in Super 8 film and pulled a few things from my archive.
The film is a domestic portrait of Patti and her son, Jackson. William Blake was invited in the form of a plaster cast of his death mask. Kurt Cobain, (conflicted, fierce, gentle, and another mother’s son) was invited as an admirer of Leadbelly. Cats were invited as household saints. The film invokes New York and rural America. It is about picking up guitars and doing dirty dishes.”
–Jem Cohen
(Spirit is formerly known as Smells Like Teen Spirit.)