Documentary Week rolls along with today’s movie, Kevin, a 35 minute short and the first documentary from emerging filmmaker, Jay Duplass. Living in Austin, Texas in the early nineties, Duplass was an admirer of local musician Kevin Gant. Gant, a singer/songwriter who performed a distinctive mix of flamenco, blues, and beat poetry, was a popular figure in Austin’s musical underground, but he dropped off the map in 1995. Years later, Duplass set out to find out what happened to Kevin.
The film begins with Duplass having found Kevin living in Austin, and working at a retail job. Kevin provides some background on how he developed his musical style, and the inspiration for his lyrics. He also, reluctantly at first, explains how and why he “disappeared”.
Kevin’s story is interesting, but as the film develops it becomes clear that this is really a story about what is to come. Although, when he first meets Duplass, Kevin has abandoned music, and has been suffering from writer’s block for over a decade his gifts are still apparent. Kevin speaks with a certain lyrical quality, his gifts as a poet clearly still bubbling beneath the surface. Given all this talent, and the filmmaker’s obvious admiration, perhaps it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the creation of the film, in itself, leads to the most exciting development in the film, as the boundaries between documentarian and subject are blurred leading to something wonderful.
This was an entertaining if imperfect short documentary. Given the way that Duplass winds up influencing the next phase of the story, the film might have benefited from more background on what Kevin meant to him originally. However, this is just me playing “what if”. That aside, I enjoyed discovering Kevin and I think that this movie is well Worth Seeing.