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Valtari Mystery Film Experiment

Ok, let's get meta for the end of the year.
That was my tweet on the 9th of December for the Sigur Rós Valtari mystery film experiment screening.  During that weekend of December 7-9, more than a hundred screenings of the project were taking place on all seven continents.  The screening for Montreal was at the more than awesome Phi Centre, where guests viewed 16 shorts inspired by the tracks on the band's latest album Valtari.

And the result? Let's discuss!
The premise was to give the filmmakers creative freedom.  Neither the band nor the filmmakers knew the content of anyone else projects. Knowing this, it is interesting to observe overall themes and imagery that came out of the shorts.

The album Valtari consists of 8 tracks, some of which were used as the sole guide to the video or two or three songs were compiled to create a longer piece.  The most dominant track was "varúð", which was featured in five of the videos.  Overall feel/conjured imagery: atmospheric is a given, moody, end of the world as we know it/economic collapse aesthetic.

Another dominant theme was nature (surprise!)  The sweeping sounds of Sigur Rós dares you not to conjure images of (Icelandic?) landscapes full of dollies and pans of forests and celestial montages.

The films varied in themes, styles and production values.  The music lends itself easily to dance/performance and is represented by 5-6 shorts in the series (depending on your personal interpretation.)

Two dance/performance pieces from top: film #7: varðeldur by melika bass and film #13: varðeldur by clare langan

But things start getting tricky when a narrative is applied; such as leaning towards solace by Floria Sigismondi.  Being a fan of her work since the nineties, I was surprised at the heavy handed voice-over and certain clichéd imagery.  The video featured Elle Fanning and John Hawkes; two actors whose faces and expressions I could stare at for hours, but with the already emotional Sigur Rós track, the extra maudlin touches lacked subtlety that could have taken the clip to the next level.

Floria was not alone in the heavy narrative catagory, but somehow film #9: seraph by Dash Shaw and John Cameron Mitchell fared a bit better.  Maybe because it was an animation.  You be the judge.

But enough with being critical- let's talk about coincidences!  As mentioned earlier, there was no conferring between the directors or the band.
The carving/drawing with glass and making eyes.
Seen in film #3 fjögur píanó by alma har'el and film #9, mentioned above.

Removing peeling paint from walls
seen from top: film #15: varúð by björn flóki and film #14: valtari by christian larson

People crying (even in the same aspect ratio!)
from top: film #4: rembihnútur by arni & kinski and film #3: fjögur píanó by alma har'el and yes that is Shia Leboeuf getting all performance art on us.

There is also blonde haired girls with gemstones glued to the corner of thier eyes, plenty of animals, New York City, and snowfall/rainfall. But please feel free to treasure hunt for those yourselves!

I'll take this moment to mention one of my personal faves, a short that features a body covered in what looks like gooey marshmallow, shot in negative?

That's it for me! Wishing you lots of food, art, film and fashion awesomeness in the new year!