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- Posted on Oct 28th 2011 11:00AM by Sarah Kurchak
Courtesy of Sigur Ros
Filmed over two nights at Alexandra Place in London, England, toward the end of the band's 2008 tour, 'INNI' is a unique rockumentary. While many concert films can make a viewer feel like they're actually at the concert, 'INNI' transports them right on stage with its intimate and, at times, claustrophobic shots. Weaving close-ups and abstract images together, Morisset creates a movie every bit as dreamy and visionary as the music that it documents.
The film will be released as part of the band's live CD/DVD set -- also named 'INNI' -- on November 15, and is also screening at select theaters like Toronto's TIFF Bell Lightbox (from October 28 to November 3).
Morisset talked to Spinner about the genesis of the project, making lead singer Jonsi mad, and what he'd do if a mainstream band like Nickelback ever came a-knocking.
How much creative control did you have while making 'INNI'?
It was quite open. There was a sense of urgency when they contacted me. The tour was finishing soon and they didn't know if the band would continue touring after that one. So they just asked me how I would envision this and I proposed something that was, in a way, quite straightforward. I wanted to document...the raw, pure energy of what they are when they play a big live gig.
I wanted to create something timeless, to blur the notion of time and place and I also suggested to them to manipulate the image with my hands after the shoot. I told them that I was really inspired by Neil Young when he recorded the Jim Jarmusch 'Dead Man' soundtrack because he would sit in a studio with a guitar and watch the film for the first time and just kind of jam over the images and it was this kind of really spontaneous, imperfect, organic approach. And I thought maybe we could do the same kind of approach. Post-production is often a really precise science where you control every aspect of it and, for me, Sigur Ros music is really organic. So I wanted something that was really artisanal.
There are some really stunning and intimate shots in 'INNI.' How hard was it to get some of those angles, and was there ever a moment when the band just wanted to tell you and your crew to back off?
Some of the cameras were little spy cams that were almost invisible for the band. We hooked up one over the mic and Jonsi, after two or three minutes, just flung the camera. For him, it was really distracting because he couldn't really see the crowd really well. That one didn't pass the test. But for the rest we tried to be as invisible as possible so we wouldn't be distracting. The importance was that they forget about us and give the best performance they could. We had the chance to shoot a couple of shots at the soundcheck, so we were able to get some of the details at that time. But during the show we were invisible.
Although you have a distinct vision as a filmmaker, 'Miroir Noir' and 'INNI' still have their own unique aesthetics. How much do you think the style of your films is influenced by the music of the bands that you're documenting?
With 'Miroir Noir,' we were documenting over a long period of time and it was a bit of a patchwork of different material. Some stuff that we shot live and then material that was shot with little cameras during the recording, and so it gives this really exploded aesthetic.
With 'INNI,' Sigur Ros' music has this dreamy feel for me, and I wanted to connect to that aspect of it. It's a really a straightforward live film -- we look at Jonsi or Georg and Kjartan playing -- but it has this unique quality to it, something that is related to a dream or warp zone.
Your style lends itself very well to more artistic bands, but what if you were commissioned to film a more traditional arena rock band, like Nickelback, for example? What do you think you would do with that?
That's a good question. I don't really know Nickelback, but I know it's a commercial band, a really popular rock band. Is that it?
Yes. They use a lot of pyrotechnics.
Off the bat, I would say if they're a pyrotechnic band, I would go over the top with that, embrace this to a point that it becomes beautiful and different.
Do you have a list of acts that you'd love to work with in the future?
I don't know if I'll do a music film like this again. Maybe. We'll see. But both Arcade Fire and Sigur Ros were kind of accidents. And they were great accidents! They were truly one of my favourite bands, so I feel really honoured and really lucky to have the chance to work with those two amazing bands. If something fun happens, it will happen.
Are there any concert films that have inspired you?
I'm not necessarily a big fan of live film in general, but at the same time, I think those documentaries are really important. I enjoy older stuff. I think those documentaries also age well, in a way, because the more time passes, the more little details emerge. Like this person in the crowd, the way that people move, all those little details emerge and they become a snapshot of an era, and a chance to see an artist that is not playing anymore or has died or something like that. But I still think it's a really difficult medium because there's nothing like a live experience. I love going to see a show. I love being in front of musicians, and seeing them, and experiencing that collectively.