Thursday, 28 July 2011

An Island

I love music. I'd listen to everything and anything in some form or another. Though rarely have I found myself in a position to review music documentaries. Attempting to be an authority on film is a tough enough sell at times, but with music I'm genuinely out of my depth. Nevertheless when opportunity arises to review a film featuring one of my favourite bands I simply couldn't refuse.

An Island, directed by independent French film maker Vincent Moon, follows folky post rock band Efterklang as they trek around a small island off the coast of Denmark. Over the course of the documentary sees the band doing a series of unconventional shows with the natives of the island, similar in vein to Sigur Ros' triumphant love letter to their native Iceland in 2007's Heima.

Once you kind of get past the idea An Island isn't so much a film, but one really long somewhat abstract music video it's actually a visually gorgeous experience, shifting effortlessly between performances with sharp, contrasting, black and white shots of the island to warm, vivid, stylised camera-work of the band blasting out some of their more infamous tunes. It also features some really tender sweet moments, none more so than the performance the band do with a children's choir which just looked like a lot of good honest fun.

Obviously if you aren't a fan of the band's music, then this documentary probably isn't for you in any shape or form. However the techniques used and slick editing might appeal to budding young film students. Moon was also smart enough to know when to finish the documentary as I believe, with the exception of die hard fans, most would find their attention spans wavering if it continued past the 50 minute mark.

Final Thoughts
Efterklang's first stab at the great rockumentary genre is a tidy and visually pleasing one. Following in the footsteps of Sigur Ros, Vincent Moon has created something warm, honest and personable. Qualities which, in my opinion, shine through in the band's music again and again. Die hard fans will find it essential, casual fans will enjoy it, but I doubt potentially new fans will be sold just yet.


An Island can be bought by the band directly in a 'pay what you want' download package here ::

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