Stop What You’re Doing and Go See Miroir Noir. RIGHT. NOW!

Really, y’all.  Saturday afternoon, amidst soup making and reading camp theory outside because the weather’s just too gorgeous to stay indoor (that’s what everybody does with their Saturdays, right?), I took a break from getting my academic nerd on and switched nerd gears and went full on music+film nerd.  I couldn’t help it; there was a two-for-one nerd sale at, and–let’s be frank–I’m a sucker for discount prices.  They’re my Waterloo.

Anywhosie, I’ve digressed.

The point of this all is that I watched Miroir Noir, the recently released documentary about the recording of and subsequent tour for the Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible, and this movie was nothing short of spectacular.  I mean, there are no words to describe it.  

Oh wait, there are:


I’m not kidding, either.  My face is so melted right now.  Thankfully melted face is all the rage in Milan right now; I’m always glad to find myself accidentally au currant with the latest trends.  But enough with these caffeine-and-enthusiasm-fueled digressions!  

ANYWAYS, I’ll fully admit that you probably need to be a fan of the Arcade Fire for the movie to be a pleasurable viewing; otherwise, you may find yourself unimpressed with a 70-minute experimental documentary that shirks traditional narrative forms in favorite of embraces an audio-visual atmosphere that quite brilliantly captures the mood and thrills of both Neon Bible and the live tour that followed.  The audio mix variously juggles songs in their final form on the album, in early stages of production, or in the raw form of a live performance; it’s a rather psychedelic effect, but in all the best ways possible.  

Chronology of imagery is ignored in favor of building towards an emotional climax.  Without any context to the space and time of where the raw footage is coming from, Miroir Noir abandons the notion of documentary as a specific historical narrative.   Alternating between the epic spirit of their shows and the intimate moments of building their album, Miroir Noir is a love letter to the creative impulse, both a document of and a tone poem devoted to the affective power of music.  

Don’t worry, though.  There are also playful moments, like this one:

How do you make a rather spookily grim song about one person’s anxieties over religious zealotry less of a downer?  Play an acoustic version of it in an elevator!  In one take!  That’s fun!  Well, fun for me, at least.  

But, like I said before, Miroir Noir is pretty much a two-for-one nerd special about a band I really love.  To say I’m biased is perhaps the understatement of the week.  If you love the Arcade Fire, chances are you don’t need any persuasion to see this movie.  Hell, in all likelihood, you’ve probably already seen it and have a far more articulate way of discussing it’s triumphs; I just have a rather overly excited case of word vomit.  

And if you hate the Arcade Fire, then I highly recommend that you see this.  Not because it’ll make you change your opinion about them.  Oh, quite the contrary.  If anything, you might hate them more after seeing Miroir Noir.  As I see it, though, at least it’ll give you numerous and significant talking points for when you want to have a conversation about how much you hate the Arcade Fire.

And also how much I hate your stupid face.  I believe in opening up the cultural discourse like that.

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