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My Sigur Rós INNI Film Experience
First a quick Sigur Rós background. Sigur Rós is an Icelandic post-rock band with classical and minimalist elements that was formed in 2004, with former member Ágúst Ævar Gunnarsson. The current members of Sigur Rós include Jón Þór “Jónsi” Birgisson (lead vocals & guitars), Georg “Goggi” Hólm (backup vocals, bass, glockenspiel, toy piano), Kjartan “Kjarri” Sveinsson (synthesizers, keyboards, piano, organs, guitars, flute, tin whistle, oboe, and banjo) and Orri Páll Dýrason (drums). The band was named after Jónsi’s sister, Sigurrós (means Victory Rose), who was born the exact same day Sigur Rós was formed. They have released 8 albums (including 1 remix album) since 1997, and a 9th is expected to come out the 2nd half of this year along with a tour schedule. Heh, and you thought you missed the one that was “supposively” going to come out in 2010, it was recorded, but then was scrapped – sorry, they made you wait another 2 years (and hopefully this one won’t be scrapped too!).
Ok so I have two words for this screening – emotional chaos (but in a good way). The Sigur Rós INNI screening was amazing. It was a great mix of emotional storytelling and chaos. This film documented their last tour from London in 2008, and was directed by Vincent Morissett. About 95% of the entire screening was in black and white, with 60 second interludes of color showing their life on the road, as well as an interview at NPR in Britain. The filming overall was beautifully done. The lighting and the smoke effects made the environment in the film seem incredibly surreal and raw.
Vincent directed the close-up shots so you could see the intensity on Jónsi’s face as he sung and held the note from the song fljótavík for what seemed like an eternity. Then there was the close-up shot of the intense speed of Kjartan “Kjarri” Sveinsson’s hands playing the organ, hands going every which way in a complete blur.
Vincent did an amazing job directing each detail of the film, from the graphics used right down to wardrobe. I think the best use of graphic filming that caught my attention was the sporadic circles showing people having a good time. You didn’t know until the end of the song when all the circles faded that they were actually zoning in on people in their audience, and their lives at that moment.
The costumes reminded me a little of a circus, especially the way Jónsi’s costume was detailed with feathers, ornate patterns, and shimmering details. His costume was amazing and I still wonder what it would have looked like in color. The band even went as far as giving all their fans a small momento by letting their seamsters cut squares out of each band members’ unwashed costumes, and inserting them into the 7” vinyl special edition boxes of their unreleased song ‘lúppulagið’. You can actually watch the short film they did showing the process of them tearing, carefully, apart the 4 costumes and 3 pairs of shoes. So if you got a chance to order the special edition, lucky you and I’m jealous!!
In all the emotional chaos, they did manage to fit in bits of humor in the screening. The best one was an interview with a guy from NPR when he asks the question “So, did you always play this kind of music or did you play more normal music at some point?” with a reaction from the band members pretty much laughing at him. If you still haven’t heard the Sigur Rós music, listen to it and you’ll know exactly why that’s such an odd question to ask this band.
There are only 3 more screenings in the US on the big screen left until April, the closest one will be in Cleveland, then New York and New Hampshire. So if you missed it, buy it!! I could go on and on about this screening, but I’ll let you experience it for yourself. Take my word on it – it was an impressive film and definitely worth trying to get your hands on.
Also, we can thank the Psychotronic Films of Savannah for including this film as part of their Savannah Mist Series. PFS is an organization that screens really great movies, and really terrible movies, because believe it or not some people like terrible movies. The Sigur Rós INNI film was the last one of the season, but the series will start back up on February 5 with a Zombie movie filmed in Africa (which I’m looking forward to). You can find out more about it, and join their mailing list by visiting their facebook page. You can typically find these fantastic films either at the Muse Arts Warehouse or being screened at The Sentiment Bean.
Written by: Brittany Caudill