Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thank You, Iceland: Heima, a Film by Sigur Ros

This weekend I got wind that an old friend [are we still friends? You'd have to ask her] is taking an eleven month sabbatical from her job to go travel and do missionary work, including Christmas in Israel. I know she has some deeply altruistic motivations for this undertaking, I also know that some people fetishize certain locations they think can provide deeper spiritual meaning in their own lives: the 'Thank-You, India' syndrome we've mentioned around here before.

Not to say I don't have my own fascinations, they just tend to run in a different direction: New Zealand, Finland, Greenland; these places that seem to have been forgotten about. They have entire histories that no one has ever paid any attention to, because everyone wants to go to South America or Southeast Asia. One place that's always stuck in my mind has been Iceland, not least notably due to the fact that two of my favourite musical acts both come from there. One of those acts made a love letter to their home country, and I was lucky enough to see it on the big screen on Friday, at the Royal Theatre on College here in Toronto.

After touring the world for years, Icelandic ethereal noise-rockers Sigur Ros decided to conclude their tour in their home country, crossing the country like few modern day acts do. Heima [at home] is a document of that tour, combining live footage of the band with more lush panoramic shots of the Icelandic countyrside than you can stand.

Heima is gorgeous film, no doubt, but the question of how much you will enjoy it can be linked to the question of how much you like Sigur Ros. Not to say it's pointless to watch the movie if you don't like the band [Lady Trail is not as dehard as my bandmates and I, but she still enjoyed it], but how bored you get with beauty. The band has been making achingly beautiful music for 10 years now. When does that get boring? Similarly, when the movie shows you shot after shot of an unspoilt countryside and black sand beaches, when does that get boring? Your mileage may vary.

But for myself, as someone who plays in a band, it was amazing to watch this act who creates these gigantic soundscapes playing in the common room at a local community hall, or in a school gym, or completely stripped down to nothing in the middle of a field, to protest the installation of a dam. The film's out on DVD now, and I would definitely recommend a rental. At 92 minutes, it won't take up much of your time, and really, there are worse ways you could spend it.

Enjoy your Sunday, Windsor.


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