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441 Ratings

A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness

Directed by Ben Russell, Ben Rivers
France, Estonia, 2013


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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A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness Directed by Ben Russell, Ben Rivers
The highlight is the finale, which may be the only depiction of live music ever made that truly makes the viewer feel like they are there, the camera eye lolling in agony and ecstasy with the distorted noise bleeding out of speakers and obliterating nuance into one electric scream. Watch it with the best audio setup you can.
June 26, 2015
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Each of [the three acts] delineates a way of life defined by either isolation or socialization. The first concerns a group who have broken away from the world collectively. The second finds one man receding into the wilderness and, in turn, himself. The third announces a return to the world, but with a caveat: the return is a performance. Each lifestyle provides a locked groove of its own: the infinite closed loops of solitude, companionship or sociability.
December 05, 2014
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In spite of their stylistic idiosyncrasies, both filmmakers strive to reach beyond basic filmic semiology in search of a sort of a transcendental “realism,” a synthesis of modern ethnography and materialist aesthetics—aesthetics that permit film’s physical attributes (grain, end flares) their due import. Their collaborative feature, the experimental documentary A Spell to Ward of the Darkness, is a fascinating blend of their respective methods that simultaneously honors their individuality.
December 05, 2014
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