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

Bruce Cockburn: Small Source of Comfort (True North)

Bruce Cockburn: Small Source of Comfort (True North)

Bruce Cockburn – whose sole skirmish with chart success was Wondering Where The Lions Are in 1980 – is the Richard Thompson of Canada. And if you don't get the reference that's the... > Read more

Timothy Armstrong: Portraits (TA)

Timothy Armstrong: Portraits (TA)

Based in Wellington, New Zealand this singer-songwriter is also in the band The Novelist but has run a parallel but separate career as a solo artist. This, the second outing under his own name,... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

RUPERT MURDOCH; A REASSESSMENT by RODNEY TIFFEN

RUPERT MURDOCH; A REASSESSMENT by RODNEY TIFFEN

Because media baron Robert Murdoch is such a polarising figure – from a bottom-feeder driving down news content to the lowest common denominator to “Rupert is magnificent”... > Read more

McCoy Tyner: Guitars (Half Note)

McCoy Tyner: Guitars (Half Note)

This jazz giant will be 70 in December 2008 and can reflect on playing piano with the likes of John Coltrane in the 60s then a multi-faceted career as a leader, assimilator of world music... > Read more