Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Very tasty Icelandic cake

After having this blog for six months, and writing about films every now and then, it's probably time to go into one of my favourites - Sigur Rós' Heima. After being mildly interested (extremely) in the band's music for a long time, the film is like some massive cherry on a very tasty Icelandic cake - or, to put it less embarrassingly, very good indeed. It's hard to describe Heima without using fluffy words like 'beautiful' and 'moving', so I won't. But there is something undefinable about the film, something that means you can watch it endlessly and still be impressed.

Essentially it's a tour film around Iceland, where the band pitch up in some field or community centre and play a song. The filming is much like the music - it's gibberish but it makes perfect sense. The camera spends more time on the landscape than the band - on rocks, grass, tractors, houses. The songs fit across these images perfectly, in all their stripped-down acoustic wonderfulness (my word). This isn't exactly a documentary, it's all designed to evoke a mood, and it does that brilliantly. For 'Glósóli' they capture the force of the landscape (waterfalls that go up? It's a funny place). In 'Gítardjamm', tracking shots of an abandoned fish factory are perfectly composed. 'Ágætis Byrjun' has a beach for no necessary reason. There's plenty of history piled on; archive footage of the locations show evidence of a far busier time for the country, creating that poignant theme they like so much. And at the same time there's the people that turn up near the middle of nowhere to watch the band.

It all ends with an extended version of 'Popplagið', an epic song that is louder than most other bands put together. This is surely Sigur Rós at the height of their powers. They'd be very brave to attempt another film.


  1. this is perhaps one of my favorite films in the last 10 years. you've summed it up nicely.