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Sigur Rós + Vincent Morisset's "Inni"

"Flying the flag for the rock film as an art film."

Sigur Rós's second concert film opens at the Downtown Independent in Los Angeles tomorrow and sees a five-day run at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, also starting starting tomorrow. For more dates throughout the coming weeks, see the site and/or Cinema Purgatorio.

"Directed by [Canadian] Vincent Morisset, this mostly black-and-white, moody exercise in making digital footage from 2008 look like long-lost video from around the time when Ian Curtis was still doing gigs, is radically different from the first Sigur Rós cinema project, 2007's Heima," writes Gustavo Turner in the LA Weekly. Inni "is a hazy, shoegazy visual tone that is both elegiac and eulogistic — that is, at once meditative and funereal. At a time when most US music documentaries have devolved into either artist-endorsed EPKs (see Scorsese's Dylan and George Harrison docs) or predictable Behind the Music – style fables of redemption, it's refreshing to see state-sponsored artists from welfare states like Iceland and Canada still flying the flag for the rock film as an art film."

"Morisset keeps the focus squarely on the band and the performance, stepping away only briefly between songs to cut in vintage interview and performance footage to provide just a hint of context before coming back to the main performance," writes Todd Brown at Twitch. "Audio quality is stellar, the recording and mix rivaling any of the band's studio work. Clearly a film made by a fan for other fans, Inni succeeds fully. Though it will be available shortly on DVD it is very definitely a film best appreciated on the big screen."

At Cineuropa, Francesco Bonerba notes that during the Q&A that followed Inni's premiere in Venice Days last month, the band did confirm that they're working on a new album and plan to tour Italy next year.

Viewing (8'32"). Cineuropa's interview with Morisset and Sigur Rós keyboard player Kjartan Sveinsson.

More viewing (5'28"). Pitchfork has a clip.

Update, 10/28: Mark Olsen in the Los Angeles Times: "Sigur Rós fans are intensely devoted — lore describes people passing out at shows in some sort of overwhelmed, ecstatic state — and Inni finally gives some sense of why and how that might happen."

Update, 10/30: "This is simply one of the most engrossing concert films in recent memory," writes Guy Dixon in the Globe and Mail. "Morisset adds a whole new element to Sigur Ros's visuals, playing throughout the film with all aspects of the image, from light distortions and rich contrasts. Imperfections are accentuated. The effect is like the output of some photographer getting hugely inspired and a little crazy in the darkroom one rainy day…. One major caution: Anyone seriously interested in the cinematography should first see the film, and then read Morisset's detailed description of his shooting technique on the film's website. Reading the director's notes first could take away some of the magic. For this is the perfect film for a band that was never trying to be something other than inventive."

Update, 11/7: "The concert film is such a generally bereft genre that even its greatest works, like Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz, are more interesting for the subjects they chronicle than any overt stylistic imprints they leave behind. Inni avoids the general blandness of such depictions by utilizing an impressive technical setup, with dozens of cameras scattered about the stage, capturing images as diverse as a keyboardist's hands and the back of a drummer's pedal-pounding foot. The fusion of these images, edited together to match the rhythms of the band's swelling songs, is undoubtedly impressive, but the overall presentation seems lightweight in comparison with something like Pedro Costa's recent Ne Change Rien, which pulled off a similar stylistic coup while feeling much less conceptually jumbled."

Updates, 11/12: Inni "leaves most of its genre in the dust," writes Jeannette Catsoulis in the New York Times. "Captured mainly in a dreamlike haze of throbbing black and white that perfectly mirrors the band's haunting, otherworldly songs, this eccentric profile is a shimmering example of what it means to show rather than tell."

Rob Fitzpatrick talks with the band for the Guardian.

Update, 11/20: The point of Inni, suggests Jason Morehead at Filmwell, is "to convey, in a very abstract way, the delirious sensation of experiencing Sigur Rós in concert. And, having seen Sigur Rós live on three different occasions, I'd have to say that the film succeeds in that regard more often than not."

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