I had never heard of Courtney Barnett, the notoriously private Australian singer and songwriter showcased in the music documentary “Anonymous Club.” The project was started in 2018 by longtime music video collaborator Danny Cohen and is an intimate diary of an artist that’s universal. Being a fan is not required to get a lot out of this movie, but it’s geared towards a very specific audience.
Shot on 16mm film, the documentary follows the introverted Barnett over a period of three years, showcasing the stresses of her multi-continent tour to providing a glimpse of her intimate creative processes. Cohen’s camera captures a personal diary that gives a close-up look inside the life of an indie artist. It’s not all success and happiness and adoration and rainbows: even at the height of her popularity, Barnett is ready to walk away from it all.
Cohen wisely lets Barnett speak for herself, recording an audio diary that details the film’s story. While she is a famous musician, it’s still easy to relate to Barnett’s struggles with self-confidence and seeking the perfect place to fit in as she continues to emerge as an artist to watch. It’s a highly private, personal account of her innermost anxieties and dreams.
The music featured in the film is terrific, including Barnett’s songs about panic attacks and other struggles, and it gives a real feeling of what an intimate diary of an artist this film actually is. The subject displays a vulnerability that shows trust in her director, which makes “Anonymous Club” a unique viewing experience.