Fellow anthemic NPR darlings Arcade Fire and Radiohead might fiercely divide public opinion, but there aren’t a lot of Sigur Rós haters: People either love the Icelandic post-rock band or are content to let their ethereal sounds fade into the background. It follows that there probably aren’t going to be a lot of people who dislike Inni, their second concert film. Directed by Vincent Morisset, this mostly black-and-white, moody exercise in making digital footage from 2008 look like long-lost video from around the time when Ian Curtis was still doing gigs is radically different from the first Sigur Rós cinema project, 2007’s heima. Although their earlier film showed a band at the height of indie fame serving as ambassadors for Iceland’s culture, folklore, and colorful, epic landscapes, the sparse Inni (the title translates as “inside”) comes in the middle of a long hiatus, with the band members pursuing solo projects. Canadian experimentalist (and Arcade Fire associate) Morisset transferred the digital performance footage to 16mm film and continued filtering, reframing, and refocusing it, using color archival material of early TV interviews and backstage outtakes as separators between songs. The result is a hazy, shoegazy visual tone that is both elegiac and eulogistic, at once meditative and funereal. At a time when most U.S. music documentaries have devolved into either artist-endorsed EPKs (see Scorsese’s Dylan and George Harrison docs) or predictable Behind the Music–style fables of redemption, it’s refreshing to see state-sponsored artists still flying the flag for the rock film as an art film.
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