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Terry Zwigoff.
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Portrait of the comic book artist as a man

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This documentary biopic looks at revolutionary US comic book artist Robert Crumb, and his tortured family.

This seemingly placid doc on the life and career of cult comic book artist Robert Crumb, who debunked superhero traditions with satire and psychedelic absurdity, is loaded with despair.

For what unfolds from director Terry Zwigoffís inspired shuffle through the patterns and patter of a visionary American eccentric, weighed down by a carnival of sexual peccadilloes (piggybacks are his thing), is a biting exploration of family dysfunction and artistic catharsis.

Unlike his brothers, shell-shocked into near-catatonia by childhood trauma, Crumb spilled his tormented psyche into his art, creating brilliant, deformed attacks on American life. Which, of course, is exactly what Zwigoff is up to.

No ordinary biopic, or documentary for that matter, this is a rare glimpse into the twisted mind of a visionary artist.

Reviewed by Ian Nathan

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