From pagan re-enactors to failed communes, black metal festivals to Arctic hermits, and the forever Golden Hour to the Northern Lights, A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness follows a nameless hero in an otherworldly search for a spiritual existence in a modern era.
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Had the synopsis been more precise in saying that the man's not just a man, but Robert A.A. Lowe of Lichens and Om fame (Advaitic Songs ♥), I wouldn't have waited a whole aeon to watch it. Nice film, nice music, only tainted by the gnawing feeling that the social security system around these parts is so lousy, one would find it strenuous to swing their life away in a backwoods hippie communa. An incentive for change.
It still stands in my top 10 films of all time. Transcendent work, and a masterful collaboration between two of the most interesting auteurs in film today. From the outset in which is most likely my favourite scene in narrative cinema, the shimmering reflections as night becomes, to the beautiful solitude and landscapes, to the lingering camera and beautifully captured BM gig and the faces of the crowd. An experience
Two titans of the avant garde cine-dirge bring us a new kind of reservedly ecstatic descent into psychospiritual hinterlands. Having watched films by both, I have often noticed a kinship w/ the Werner Herzog who most consistently finds himself approaching fuzzy horizons where documentary and fiction melt together. I feel like Fata Morgana, especially, is a big influence for both Russell and Rivers. A real trip.
Ethno-trance film from co-directors Russell and Rivers that follows Robert A.A. Lowe through three very different ways of living in Estonia, Finland and Norway. Communal living; solitary foraging; and playing in a death metal band! Rewarding for some, deathly dull for others.