Film #41: Inni (2011)

Directed by: Vincent Morriset
Language: Icelandic and some English
Length: 75 minutes
Watched on: 5 December

Inni is the latest offering from Sigur Rós and their second film; it was bundled recently with a 2-disc live album by the same name. Their first film was Heima, which followed them on a tour round Iceland and had interviews with the band members; this one stands in contrast to that one, as it consists of footage from one concert shot in London a few years ago, interspersed with archive footage. It’s full of arty angles, and is shot in black-and-white with effects added to it later on, apparently.

It’s certainly a good album, and the film nicely complements the album, since the tracks are mostly the same but in a different order. I particularly enjoyed a part of the film where, while the band are playing a song, various people in a crowd are spotlighted one-by-one, followed by the entire crowd scene being shown again, as if to challenge the viewer to pick out the people they’d previously spotlighted.

Their musical style is a bit different to how it is on their studio albums; there are definite organy overtones on some of the older tracks that are reminiscent of the most recent album (the one with the unwieldy title, Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust), so it makes some of the tracks sound subtly different. One thing that Jónsi does a lot in the normal albums is to digitally do duets with himself – naturally, one can’t do this on stage, and he is seen several times accompanied in the duet by Kjarri, who is normally the keyboardist. I’d actually like to see this happen a bit more, to be honest. I heard that Jónsi only got the singing job because the others couldn’t sing, rather than because he could (although he most certainly can!), and Kjarri wasn’t a member back then, so I’d be interested if they might record him singing a track in the future.

But I have one major gripe with this release: nothing in it is new. They’re all tracks that we’ve heard before. Put together well, sure, but nothing new. It feels to me like they’re delaying putting out a proper album (although perhaps they have one in the making? Who knows?!). It feels like a copout from doing an actual tour – instead they can send their film around the world without getting up.

Watching the film and listening to the cheers on the soundtrack also acutely remind me that I still haven’t seen Sigur Rós in concert. I saw Jónsi do his solo act last year, but that’s not by any means the same. Perhaps I should have made more effort to try and get to their concerts when they were still touring, but they took a hiatus around 2 years ago, and I haven’t had the chance.

So it’s good, definitely, but symptomatic of the band’s intolerable reticence.

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