The most interesting music documentaries focus on performers who most of all had a special life story, not necessarily those who were the most successful. In this case we’re taken through the sad history of Herbert ”Tiny Tim” Khaury, a peculiar man who was ambiguous when it came to pretty much everything. Playing the banjo and singing in falsetto, he became a phenomenon in the late 1960s; a frequent guest on U.S. television for a while, it didn’t take long for him to become obscure. Interviews with friends and family, including his widow Susan, bring a lot of insight into Khaury’s troubled nature. Archive footage blends with animated segments and Tiny’s diary comes alive thanks to Yankovic’s voice. Often oddly fascinating.
2020-Sweden-Norway-Denmark-U.S.-Croatia. 78 min. Color-B/W. Produced by David Herdies, Michael Krotkiewski. Directed by Johan von Sydow. Screenplay: Martin Daniel. Narrated by ”Weird Al” Yankovic.
Trivia: Based on the biography ”Eternal Troubadour: The Improbable Life of Tiny Tim” by Justin Martell. D.A. Pennebaker is one of the film’s interview subjects.
Last word: “I made a film about a Swedish artist [Nils Olof Bonnier] who disappeared in the 1960s. During our interview, one of his friends said that he loved Tiny Tim, and then started to laugh so hard he had tears in his eyes. I had to look him up. After two seconds, I went: ‘Who is this guy?!’ At the same time, my friend and colleague Malik Bendjelloul was working on ‘Searching for Sugar Man’. I thought: ‘If he can tell a story about an American artist, so can I.’ Soon after that, I met Justin Martell, who was writing his biography.” (von Sydow, Cineuropa)