Arcade Fire: Miroir Noir (DVD/EMI)

 |   |  1 min read

Arcade Fire: Intervention
Arcade Fire: Miroir Noir (DVD/EMI)

Arcade Fire deservedly won a massive and loyal audience for their exceptional Neon Bible album, an album that was orchestrated and grand as much as it was earthy and rock-framed. It was music of achieved ambition by a band that seemingly appeared out of nowhere.

This film by director Vincent Morisset -- and it very much feels like a slightly self-conscious "art film" in places: grainy images, hand-held camera, odd framing etc etc  -- is perhaps more squarely aimed at the loyal audience rather than the massive one: you have to have more than just a passing interest in the band/album.

Following them through rehearsals, stadiums, backstage japes and arty moments in exotic locations, this film also manages to place the effect of their emotionally engaging music squarely in the centre of the frame, even when it isn't audibly there.

It does that through identifying the often ecstatic effect Neon Bible has had on people. The conceit is that the band started its own hotline 1-866-NEON-BIBLE and people called and left messages, some of which are peppered through the movie as a kind of fan-base commentary.

But if this was supposed to be a satirical poke at televangalists and the new viral marketing, it comes off as something much deeper: people's calls speak of their genuine connection with the music, of how it has given them hope, changed their lives and so on.

Some might dismiss this as the blather of Americans with little better to do, but it doesn't sound like that. There is an intimate connection people feel with this group who, by and large, remain anonymous throughout.

That intimacy somehow translates to stadiums: the footage there, albeit often bleached out or sepia-toned for effect, is immensely powerful.

Arcade Fire are a band that people actually feel something for on an almost spiritual level it would seem. And yet they still manage to rock out.

A rare band indeed, and if some of this is almost wilfully obscure and deliberately downplaying the myth to elevate it, that hardly matters. It is a fascinating film -- with the caveat that it will play best to converts to the faith. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

THE BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2014: THE YEAR IN REISSUES

THE BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2014: THE YEAR IN REISSUES

Just before we consider the best reissues of the year can we just pause for a moment and note that Jimmy Page is the year's most over-rated man: his photo autobiography was a crashing bore (unless... > Read more

Soname: Plateau (Harmonia Mundi)

Soname: Plateau (Harmonia Mundi)

Latterly it seems that the world is resigning itself to having a Tibet in the absence of Tibet: holding the notion of Tibetanism and that country being kept alive by the diaspora, even if the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

King Leo and the Growling Dogs: Mad Love (King Leo)

King Leo and the Growling Dogs: Mad Love (King Leo)

Ahh yes, the "Dunedin sound", huh? Well here's something out of the south which will further confound preconceptions: King Leo LaDell and his tight band haul into tough urban blues... > Read more

FUTURE JAZZ by HOWARD MANDEL

FUTURE JAZZ by HOWARD MANDEL

In a recent column I said that when the histories of jazz last century are written one name will loom unnaturally large, that of trumpeter/composer Wynton Marsalis. I speculated this... > Read more