Review: Inni

A concert film as long-form music video, Vincent Morisset’s Inni has style to burn but little apparent focus.

Photo: Cinema Purgatorio

A concert film as long-form music video, Vincent Morisset’s Inni has style to burn but little apparent focus, flitting about its subject like a buzzing fly. A profile of Icelandic group Sigur Rós, constructed mostly from footage of their 2008 tour, the result is conceptually novel—shot in faux-grainy black-and-white HD, focusing on minute details rather than static images of the band on stage—but ultimately puzzling. As a document of a live show it looks like nothing else, but Morisset’s greater aspirations, attempts to define or sum up the band through the inclusion of external material, come off as muddled and oblique.

It’s primarily this non-concert material, which removes the film from its specific context and leaves it momentarily unmoored, that makes its aims seem less clear. Presenting snippets of interviews and scraps of early gigs, such sporadic forays into the outside world suggest it has more in mind than mere documentation. Stylistically they work well, matching the hazy fever-dream feel of the concert’s black-and-white visuals, but any meaning suggested is tenuous. Worst of all, these escapes into fuzzy color break the reverie formed by the band’s hypnotic songs, which combine together less as tracks on an album than a single classical piece.

Yet it’s only by virtue of Morisset’s beautifully shot footage that it seems necessary to ask these questions in the first place. The concert film is such a generally bereft genre that even its greatest works, like Martin Scorsese’s The Last Waltz, are more interesting for the subjects they chronicle than any overt stylistic imprints they leave behind. Inni avoids the general blandness of such depictions by utilizing an impressive technical setup, with dozens of cameras scattered about the stage, capturing images as diverse as a keyboardist’s hands and the back of a drummer’s pedal-pounding foot. The fusion of these images, edited together to match the rhythms of the band’s swelling songs, is undoubtedly impressive, but the overall presentation seems lightweight in comparison with something like Pedro Costa’s recent Ne Change Rien, which pulled off a similar stylistic coup while feeling much less conceptually jumbled.

 Cast: Jon Thor Birgisson, Orri P. Dyrason, Georg Holm  Director: Vincent Morisset  Screenwriter: Vincent Morisset  Distributor: Cinema Purgatorio  Running Time: 77 min  Rating: NR  Year: 2011  Buy: Video, Soundtrack

Jesse Cataldo

Jesse Cataldo hails from Brooklyn, where he spends his time writing all kinds of things, preparing elaborate sandwiches, and hopelessly trying to whittle down his Netflix queue.

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