The screening of Inni at St James Cavalier

I’d been waiting for the promised screening of Sigur Ros’s Inni at the St James Cavalier cinema ever since the possibility was first mentioned online some long months ago. I’d fallen in love with this Icelandic band immediately upon hearing their first album but I never managed to catch them live. Experiencing their second docu-film, complete with the music from their album Inni, with proper cinema sound was the closest substitute, I figured.

And I was right. I could, of course, have seen the movie on my own video player at home but what I refer to as the “full immersion” experience was incomparable. Besides re-confirming my suspicions that Icelanders are a tad on the charmingly weird side and share a intriguing  amount of  “Bjorkisms”, the movie also opened up the world of (what I consider) genius director Vincent Morisset. I just love this director’s eye – he was also the one behind Arcade Fire’s Miroir Noir. Inni shares a bit of the style adopted in Miroir Noir, in that it gives the viewer a really intimate, close-up vantage point of the artistes. So close that I now know that I approve of frontman Jonsi’s and drummer Ágúst’s choice in sneakers and socks. Very quirky.

The constant use of monochrome is another element that makes viewing Inni – particularly on the big screen – a very intense experience. The constant dull and monochromatic look that is kept up while the lads are performing can feel claustrophobic at times. But the music itself is so uplifting that it’s the “good” kind of claustrophobia, if such a thing exists, where you find yourself totally taken over by the music. The style of interviewing, slightly humorous and cheeky, is also the same one we find in Miroir Noir. At one point the trio are asked to describe their music. The interviewer is met with silence. And more silence. And then some more silence. As the journalist looks increasingly discomfited by the silence, the cinema erupts in laughter.

I guess it’s very easy to forget that these are three regular dudes in a band when you listen to their music and let it wash over you. Hence the banal questions that journalists famously come up with, such as “did you play normal music before becoming what you are today” or even “describe your music”. The latter is usually the very first question I put to interviewees at any given music interview, so my laughter at the way Sigur Ros dealt with this was accompanied by a small wince:

“We’re a very serious heavy metal band—and we worship the devil.”

I made a mental note to myself to scrap that question from my list, knowing perfectly well that I wouldn’t keep this promise.

This post was published on The Times TV Guide.