media » reviews
q review of 'heima'
(gagrnýi)

*****

the men from iceland reinvent the tour film.

heima makes but two concessions to the form's convention: interview segments with the band link the footage; sigur ros are filmed performing live and, just the once, shown indulging in a spot of backstage malarkey. otherwise, it charts an entirely different course, one that has more in common with the cinema of the european arthouse than, say, babyshambles live in manchester. central to this is the volcanic landscape of iceland itself; bleakly beautiful, its rugged mountains and glacial valleys serve up visual wonders throughout. it's one director dean deblois and editor nick fenton exploit to the fullest with long, slow-tracking shots and lingering images of empty, frozen vistas, so that much here has the depth and resonance of a painting. sigur ros's ethereal music is the perfect fit for this environment, and the performance pieces - both during shows and in specially staged scenes - are filmed with the same restrained intimacy.

heima makes but two concessions to the form's convention: interview segments with the band link the footage; sigur ros are filmed performing live and, just the once, shown indulging in a spot of backstage malarkey. otherwise, it charts an entirely different course, one that has more in common with the cinema of the european arthouse than, say, babyshambles live in manchester. central to this is the volcanic landscape of iceland itself; bleakly beautiful, its rugged mountains and glacial valleys serve up visual wonders throughout. it's one director dean deblois and editor nick fenton exploit to the fullest with long, slow-tracking shots and lingering images of empty, frozen vistas, so that much here has the depth and resonance of a painting. sigur ros's ethereal music is the perfect fit for this environment, and the

all of which would make heima entrancing enough, but it has another idimension. as sigur ros play at village halls and on makeshift stages at open-air "happenings" (all but two of the shows were unannounced), heima increasingly suggests the importance of these communities and, as iceland enters its own form of industrial revolution, the need to preserve both culture and country. because of this there's a particular power to moments like the one where a local marching band joins them onstage, or in a scene where they play inside a disused factory in theghost town of djupavik.

at its end, heima pulls a final masterstroke. rather than conclude at the dizzying climax to the reykjavik show, it finishes instead with singer jonsi birgisson relating a lovely anecdote about keyboardist kjartan sveinsson's grandmother, which should be seen rather than spoilt here.

the production notes say that sigur ros used jazz on a summer's day and pink floyd's live at pompeii, each a film about music rather than a music film, as inspiration for heima. in creating something here that is as moving as it is magical, they've surpassed both.

(paul rees)

 

 

« reviews