A few weeks ago I discovered that Protein were hosting a screening of the new Vincent Moon film, a collaboration with the Danish band Efterklang. I went along, wrote some words, and today The 405 are promoting the piece as today’s main feature on the homepage. Huzzah!
Vincent Moon // In Depth
The MTV generation is dead. No longer do we stare at a electronic box to get our music video fix, being force fed a hip-mentality via product placement or being romanced by thonged jiggling asses dribbling sex. Now the box of dreams sells us aspirational reality television, while have eloped with youtube and vimeo for our creative crack (or dopamine fix?). Now we are all critics. Now we make and broadcast our own. The MTV generation is dead. Long live the culture of free. And here I present to you, your king, Vincent Moon.
The Parisian director has put a new prominence on relationship between music and cinema through his experimental films on bands including Yeasayer, R.E.M, Arcade Fire, Grizzly Bear, Mogwai and most recently Efterklang. His vérité filmaking was first noticed by The National, whom Moon befriended shortly after the release of their first album. Moon made his first music videos for the band, provided the photography for the cover of their album Aligator, and later shot the band’s first feature length documentary entitled ‘A Skin, A Night’. The film chronicled the making of the album The Boxer and the lead-up to a performance at London’s Koko, but was heavily criticised by the band’s fans for being too avant-guard & lo-fi, as well as not showing enough of the bands music.
Moon’s early work was also noticed by Chryde, owner of the french blog theblogoteque, who was looking for someone to film weekly video podcasts of indie bands doing impromptu and al-fresco performances. The pair founded and have been running The Take-Away shows ever since, in 4 years they have produced over 200 clips of many underground musicians from the Europe’s blogsphere and beyond.
In 2009 Moon received critical acclaim for his documentary on the 2008 All Tomorrow Parties, a nolstalgic homage to the increasingly popular band curated festival. During the last year Moon has been travelling around the world as a wayfaring nomad, documenting his sights and the sounds via his blog fiumenights, as well as his trusty Panasonic 171.
Stylistically, Moon’s self-shot work is very self-aware as its status as an alternative and often unexpected take on the fan video. Moon sees himself a ‘passeur’, “a link, a connexion, a bridge between people, sounds and cultures,” marrying music and film as one complete entity. His films adopt a warm over-saturated color balance, while the hand-held camerawork produces jumpy shots that either bounce or flow with the musicality of the soundtrack, with long close-ups of inanimate objects or facial expressions that pan out to all encompassing crowd scenes. Much of his work is seemingly unplanned, unchoreographed, and unscripted, but successfully gives the illusion that you are witnessing a creativity in its most raw and unpolished form. Moon is heavily influenced by found experimentations of Austrian Peter Tscherkassky, and the cinematic anthropology and Jump-cuts of Jean Rouch, tries to work outside of a monetary economy, and always releases his work under a Creative Commons licence.
His latest film is a collaboration with the Danish 9-peice Efterklang. Running at just under an hour, An Island was filmed over four days in August 2010 on (unsurprisingly) an island in the Danish countryside. It was released in February but is being distributed in a extraordinary way, via public or private screenings that anyone can host. A contest was launched via Wired.com to find the host of the world premiere on the 31st of January, which was Latvian Raimonds Gusarevs. Less than two weeks later there have been over 500 public/private screenings of An Island all over the world. People can contact Moon via the film’s website to apply as long as they fulfil two conditions; that at least 5 people attend the screening, and the event is free. People can still register to host their own screenings up until the 31st of March.
There are plenty of other public/private screenings taking place, as well the chance to catch it at gigs during Efterklang’s UK tour, check the website for more details, as well as Moon’s own website for his filmography.