Jonathan Caouette, who made such a strong impression in 2003 with Tarnation, a bold, personal, kalidescopic documentary about his relationship with his mentally ill mother, has picked up where Tarnation left off with his new movie, Walk Away Renee.
The new movie will be screened Saturday at the Museum of Fine Arts. Caouette, a Houston native who now lives in New York City, will speak at the screening. Walk Away Renee will be preceded by his 2010 short film, All Flowers in Time (14 minutes).
Walk Away Renee centers on the cross-country road trip that Caouette took with his mother from Texas to New York last year. Like Tarnation, the movie is fused with fiction, but he says his goal is to get at the truth.
“There is more fiction in Walk Away Renee,” he says in the film’s production notes, but he calls the fictionalization “a metaphor for the truth. It’s an ongoing conversation with truth.”
Official Synopsis: Picking up where his trailblazing, internationally celebrated, first-person fever dream Tarnation left off, Jonathan Caouette embarks on a cross-country road trip to move his mentally ill mother Renee from Texas to New York, a journey that both tightens and tests their bond. As they encounter roadblocks in the present, the film flashes back to moments from the past, giving us insight into this anything-but-ordinary mother/son relationship, and bringing us up to speed on the heart-rending events that led up to the road trip. While Renee fights to maintain a grip on reality, Jonathan is faced with impossible decisions that pit sanity against mortality, familial devotion and personal survival. Through candid home movies, split-screen verité, musical montage, hallucinary psychedelia, and dramas both actual and imagined, the film raises questions about love, sacrifice, and the slippery instability of consciousness.