Montage of Heck

with Hisko Hulsing


“You know, someone can feel all of this pain right into his extremely sensitive soul, and this makes him a martyr and a super hero. Through his shinin’ everyday life, he can give some little places and times where having good reasons to fuck everything. You know, we create and shape him through our pain, our fears, our puerility and petty trick, interests, just to mock and kill him at the end, in order to renew our life with another icon to be worshiped. Definetely, this is the right moment to celebrate him again thanks to the Brett Morgen’s film, Cobain: Montage of Heck.

Then, yes, maybe I found out I’m a big nostalgic of the ’80s and ’90s, yellowish wallpaper, visionary afternoons and guitars. But that, you know, perhaps it’s my age. We always need to apologize for some natural needings. But this is a concrete example about the way in which not everything is ‘all apologies’. You have to be ironic, dear friend, cause life is a joke.”
“Sure, man.”

“And finally, who cares if someone dies, and he was a good guy but a little bit mad, don’t you think?”
“Of course, we are here telling of him.”

MoH monk

“So let’s tell of a new rare beautiful thing we have seen, thanks god, again. Something ipnotic like The Wall of Pink Floyd, A Skin Too Few about Nick Drake, When you’re strange on The Doors, not?”
“Absolutely powerful.
And of course the montage Kurt had in his head.”
“I’d like to tell some more about it with Hisko Hulsing, who has been dealing with the animation of the film:”

Hisko Hulsing MoH tel

Montage of Heck Gif 1

Dear Hisko, how hard it is to separate genius from madness, bearing in mind their extreme sides?

I still don’t know what genius means exactly, I don’t know where “extra-ordinary” ends and “genius” begins. Are Kurt Cobain, Frank Zappa, Dimitry Shostakovich or Roman Polanski geniuses? I like to think so, but I don’t know. I just know that what they did is not easily reproducable, because of their very personal ways of creating art. With an artist like Salvador Dali it is hard to say if he was mad or a genius, because of the irrational nature of surrealism, but in most cases genius and madness are separatable by their endresults.
I would say that most genius stuff comes from an unknown place in the mind, just like madness.
The best ideas seem to come from nowhere. And ideas that might seem irrational from the outside, might turn out to touch a lot of people in irrational ways.
I realise that my ideas that are most vague and close to madness, turn out to be my best insights, but they always need clear rational guiding to be performed successfully.

Hisko Hulsing MoH city night

Montage of Heck Gif 1a

How was your meeting with the story of Kurt Cobain, on a purely emotional level?

A good female friend of mine committed suicide three years ago, so the confontation with Kurt Cobain’s deathwish was very emotional to me. Of course I had known for twenty years that Kurt Cobain committed suicide, but for Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck I had to do research and got confronted with it in a new way. My friend also left a 2,5 year old child behind, so it was painful to see this happen in Montage of Heck.
The recorded story of Kurt Cobain about his low-life adolescence and his failed attempt to loose his virginity at age 15 was pretty recognisable to me. Actually it was very similar to my own life and to the films that I made about that period, especially “Seventeen”, so there was a very clear emotional connection to me.
The other part that we did, based on the Montage of Heck tape, where we see Kurt Cobain in Tracy Marrander’s house, making collages, paintings, recording songs, being creative in many ways is also very recognisable to me, because I am creative in many ways to, composing music, doing all kinds of art, like painting, animation, playing guitar, piano, writing etc.
So I felt very connected emotionally in many ways.

Your animation seems to fit very well to the atmosphere of the film, giving it a fable-like tone that proves to be necessary: Are you satisfied with the overall result?

I am very proud on having participated with Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. I like the animation that we did, and I think that the beauty of it elevated the film as a whole. I like the whole punk-tone of the film. Some people seem to miss the point that Brett Morgen doesn’t take all Kurt Cobain’s words for granted. The animated parts that we did are really interpretations of Kurt’s words, because Kurt made up a lot of stuff that nonetheless had a lot of emotional truth to it, just as in his songs. Emotional truth, or an attempt to telling a story that is emotionally truthfull, was the ambition and I feel that we succeeded.

Hisko Hulsing MoH tv

Montage of Heck Gif 2

The precise moment you realized to be an artist:

It wasn’t one moment. Just as many artists I had some vague ambitions as a young child and it took many many years before I felt that I was making things that had merit.
I was a little bit succesful as a 11 year old with my own band — succesful for an 11 year old with radioperformances etc. It flopped later on. So maybe that was the moment I realised that it is possible to have success with art — or music.

Junkyard” as a metaphor of desolation or maybe of hope too?

There’s not a lot of hope in “Junkyard”, I would say.
I do not believe in complete determination in ones life, but I have seen a lot of people in my own life that had a very bad start and seemed doomed, which was proven later on. So the film is mostly about that, and about the fragility of friendships and betrayal on many levels.


Thoughts from Amsterdam:

I love Amsterdam! It’s a worldcity, but it’s pretty small at the same time, I know lots and lots of people. There’s always parties and festivals going on, great music and art, great food, relaxed atmosphere and it can be quiet in other ways. I can easily compare it to other cities, because my films brought me to many, many other cities, in USA, China, South Korea, Russia, etc. etc.
The downside is the weather, which is much better in a shithole like Los Angeles.

A memory from your childhood you will never lose:

Well, I love the Beatles. But there is one record that I can not play anymore.
When I was 9, I fell in love with this girl that I had french kisses with in an old washmachine-box, in the bike shed.
A couple of days later she told me that I was number seven on her “boylist”.
The Help record was the only record I had when I was 9, so that proofs that love-sickness and heartbreak are as real for 9 year olds as for grown-up.
I still feel this terrible stone in my stomach when I put the needle on the Help record.



Montage of Heck Gif 1b

Montage of Heck Gif 0

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