Film, Film Commentary, Music

Watch: Fjögur píanó by Alma Har'el (Music by Sigur Ros)

August 11, 2012

A couple months ago, a rather odd (viral) film emerged out of the Icelandic ashes of one Valtari* (XL; 2012), the latest soundtrack-friendly album by Sigur Ros — one of the seminal pre-millennial disestablishmentarian tilrauninas (Icelandic for “experimenters”) that helped define and shape the very landscape of what many music connoisseurs affectionately refer to as “post rock.”

The video (embedded below) is part of an experimental series of films hosted by Sigur Ros, who challenged a suite of filmmakers to “create whatever comes into their head when they listen to songs from the band’s new album” (namely:  The Valteri Mystery Film Experiment).  The track interpreted below (“Fjögur píanó”) was done by filmmaker Alma Har’el, a recipient of the Best Documentary award at the Tribeca Film Festival for his doc, Bombay Beach, in 2011.

In “Fjögur píanó,” an unexpected recruit comes in the form Shia LaBeouf, who recently played the lead in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street:  Money Never Sleeps (2010).  He’s almost virtually unrecognizable here, as he’s strikingly grungy and rather full-frontal.  Not surprisingly (vis-a-vis Sigur Ros’ discography), the music is absolutely breathtaking (Pitchfork’s review of the album was gratuitously cynical).  The imagery on display here feels like the Jungian amalgam of several plotless nightmares, and scariest of all:  lollipops.  Dear God … lollipops!

Fair warning:  It’s rather disturbing, NSFW, and consternating (aren’t all the best chimeras, though?)  Considering the repetitious use of butterflies, it could arguably be interpreted as an unsubtle nod to Monarch Mind Control, but let’s leave that up to the viewer to decide.

Rest assured that any way you cut it, it’s a fascinating watch.  Don’t miss it.

*”Valtari” is Icelandic for “steamroller.”

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