Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Heima Gonna Beat Yo Ass
Just saw the Sigur Rós concert documentary Heima, screened in full HD in a crowded theater. I'm glad I did, because now I can't imagine having seen it just on my little 32" TV. It was really something. I can't promise that non-fans will be entertained... but I can promise you'll see some jaw-dropping shit.
I want to declare that the bar has been raised, but it doesn't seem fair. It's not a traditional concert film / band documentary, in that there's very little storytelling about the band, or even the band with respect to their homeland. You don't get the usual "mugging for the camera" goofiness or "hey look we filmed an argument" drama. Instead, you really just get Iceland, the whole Iceland, and nothing but Iceland... with a special appearance by Sigur Rós. It was reminiscent of a nature documentary like Planet Earth or something more than a concert film.
But to be clear, that's a good thing. The photography alone makes Heima worth seeing on a big screen. I can't remember ever seeing real life shot and reproduced on screen so faithfully. There is no stylistic anything, no unnatural lighting, no manipulation. It looks exactly like it would look if you were standing there.
The concert footage is so calm and focused that you don't need any extra face time to get a feel for what the band is like. Without the classic MTV-style jump cuts and flashes, you can just sink in and watch them operate.
Oddly, the music wasn't even all that big a deal to me. I mean, it was awesome. "Glósóli" and "Hoppipolla" and "Popplagið" are always going to be showstoppers. And the quieter songs like "Heysatan" and "Staralfur" were arresting in their own way. But I was so mesmerized by the Icelandic countryside that anytime we were back with the band, I wanted to get back to nature.
So, I loved it. If this comes out on a high-def DVD format, it'll be on the short list for early purchases.