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UNTIL THE LIGHT TAKES US black metal movie / THE EGG horror film

You made some fair points, Jim, and I'm not really going to dispute anything you've said.  One thing I will touch on is your assertion that the Frost/Visual Artist segments "frame" movie.  In the literal sense, the shit post-modernist painter doesn't show up in UTLTU for quite a while, but the direction of the film sharply alters course when he appears, shifting toward a path of nearly relentless disposability.  And therein, for me at least, lies the mistake in the approach the filmmakers decided upon.  The last half of the film is devoted almost entirely to Frost's nonsense commingled with the shitty post-modernist painter.  When you add that to the murder of Euronymous - a man portrayed as the driving force of the scene - for being a "sell out," along with a lot of admittedly goofy soundbytes from the participants, the potential exists for the entire genre/movement to be viewed as nothing more than a goof.  For all but the the most educated members of the audience, the impact of placing so much emphasis on material that really doesn't matter very much directs the uninformed viewer to the conclusion that Norwegian Black Metal was an ephemeral trend, and like all trends, turned out to be just another short-lived attempt at cashing in on the fame accorded by rock music maaaaaaaan.

I'm gonna sit down w/ my notebook and re-watch the movie and take some notes.  We'll get to the bottom of this.

Latest update:

Quote
Thanks for the orders, every DVD ordered up to today has been sent!  We've included a couple postcards in case you have time to drop them at a record shop or other good spot in your area, and thanks if you can!  If you want to order the DVD now, you can do so at http://www.blackmetalmovie.com.  Thanks!

And in case you haven't heard, T-shirts and zippered hoodies with UTLTU logo designed by Christophe Szpajdel can now be ordered at http://www.darksundistro.com.

We're running very low on US Double DVDs and Blu-rays - so let us know quick-like if you want one of those - signed on request!  Just email us at info@blackmetalmovie.com if you want to grab one.

Thank you and we wish you a happy new year!
Audrey & Aaron

P.S.  For those in London - we're screening through 13 January at ICA, bring a friend to see it on the big screen! http://www.ica.org.uk/26936/Film/Until-the-Light-Takes-Us.html

hoodwink:  indeed, I was too lenient with the filmmakers.  I watched it closely last night, and you're right, the Visual Aritst was not even hinted at untill at least 30 mins. into the movie.  For some reason, I thought we saw Fenriz in the first art gallery sooner than that.  I think I just need to call a spade, a spade, and say that these filmmakers are more or less quasi-hipsters.  As I said earlier in this thread, the extra interview footage is better than the film, itself.


hoodwink:  indeed, I was too lenient with the filmmakers.  I watched it closely last night, and you're right, the Visual Aritst was not even hinted at untill at least 30 mins. into the movie.  For some reason, I thought we saw Fenriz in the first art gallery sooner than that.  I think I just need to call a spade, a spade, and say that these filmmakers are more or less quasi-hipsters.  As I said earlier in this thread, the extra interview footage is better than the film, itself.

Agreed.  If half of what they say about "what it was like back then" is true, then they were the most extreme group of Metal musicians to have yet existed, absolutely no question.

Personally, I thought the inclusion of the visual artist, and the way those segments were handled and edited, was one of the better aspects of the film.  It's not spoonfed.  We're not told how to feel.  Instead, we are left to grapple with the meaning of his inclusion from context.  It strikes me that, implicitly, this interlude functions as an illustration of much of what both Vikernes and Fenriz were driving at in their interview segments, namely, the failure of outsiders to understand what black metal was about in its creative phase, and their tendency to turn it into dress up and social theater.  It is a method very much in keeping with the spirit of the music: rather than engaging in simple polemic, or telling us about a particular sort of failure, it illustrates that failure by sharing an experience of it, and allowing the thoughtful to draw their own conclusions.

Personally, I thought the inclusion of the visual artist, and the way those segments were handled and edited, was one of the better aspects of the film.  It's not spoonfed.  We're not told how to feel.  Instead, we are left to grapple with the meaning of his inclusion from context.  It strikes me that, implicitly, this interlude functions as an illustration of much of what both Vikernes and Fenriz were driving at in their interview segments, namely, the failure of outsiders to understand what black metal was about in its creative phase, and their tendency to turn it into dress up and social theater.  It is a method very much in keeping with the spirit of the music: rather than engaging in simple polemic, or telling us about a particular sort of failure, it illustrates that failure by sharing an experience of it, and allowing the thoughtful to draw their own conclusions.

Kinda makes you chuckle; they put that artsy fartsy buffoon in there just to illustrate what an idiot he is. I doubt that was their actual intent, but if it was, man they're better trolls than a lot of people here.

The inability of some to understand this movie is beyond me.

1) It isn't a movie that is solely about black metal. It's not meant to give people a perfect and exact history of the movement, or to show everyone the most important albums, or anything like that. Within the case of the DVD (at least the special edition with the extras) it clearly explains that the main theme of the movie is centered around the idea that "...a copy of a copy of a copy of a thing degrades over time and iterations, changing the perception and meaning of a thing or event (the original) to the point that it's nearly devoid of original meaning." - Aaron Aites & Audrey Ewell. More specifically of course, it focuses in on how the original truths of Norwegian black metal were distorted, lost, or destroyed by a variety of factors.

When you understand this, many ideas in the movie become much clearer. /they spend time on the frauds because they are important to understand the main theme. If you could explain to me how this makes the movie poorly crafted, or why anything should have been taken out, please do, but I think you merely wanted the movie to be about something (an overview of black metal, it's philosophy, and it's importance) it really isn't.

Think of Fenriz' reaction to the art exhibit; he's clearly uncomfortable with how the "movement" he was instrumental in creating has been co-opted into something so far outside of what it actually meant. Here's the thing though: Unlike most documentaries which like to hit you over the head with obvious conclusions or agendas, Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell actually respect your intelligence and let you come to your own conclusions.

Digging up the truth and exposing how public perception was dragged away from it makes someone respectable in my opinion, not "quasi-hipsters".

there's no inability to understand the movie.  in fact, people DO want this film to be somthing other than it is.  that is the beef.

for 30 minutes (I checked last night, it's right at the 28:30 mark of the movie) we only see the main players.  Fenriz, Varg, Hellhammer.  It's all long-haired musicians.  Then we're introduced to the "fall guy."  I actually think some of the things Bjarne Melgaard says are pretty interesting, like his idea that the corpse-painted faces are like "something you've seen before, but not quite what you've seen before."  His "art" on the other hand.....  Maybe we're not spoonfed, but all you really need to do is show this flaming douche bag on camera, and the work is done.  Even the visual contrast between the long-hairs and the shaved head of Melgaard should not be ignored.  they are sort of visual opposites and something like that would not go unnoticed by detail-oriented filmmakers.  also, the fact that he's not introduced for a 1/2 hour is an interesting decision, if he's not a fall guy, why not introduce him earlier?

Now because many here are well versed in the history of black metal, one has to consider what one is bringing to the table before seeing the movie.  In other words, a person in the know and a person not in the know are going to have different impressions seeing the movie, especially with regard to foreknowledge of the Norwegian Black Metal scene.  To a person not-in-the-know, does this film make black metal look ephemeral?  I don't konw.  Perhaps, in fact, black metal SHOULD be viewed as ephemeral at this point in time.  The other question is:  what does this film actually offer to people "in the know?"

I guess the question is, if Melgaard is ignored.  What is gained?  What is lost? And for whom?

This is what I respect about the filmmakers and this is the best thing I can say about them:  they put their money where their mouth was, picked their lives up from America and moved to Norway for two years - that takes balls, they probably assumed a decent financial risk, and they ingratiated themselves with Varg, Fenriz, etc.  Well done!  I WISH I had thought of that!  The interview subjects obviously warmed to the filmmakers - and that is seriously a job well done!  They are great interviewers, no question!

I'll be honest, my heart really isn't in this.  I thought the movie was great.  I admit I think I am arguing for the sake of my reputation.  But, among other things, I've actualy studied film and I feel somewhat qualified to speak about it.  Let me just say that if you want hands-off documentaries, I can reccomend you MUCH better films.  The truly non-spoonfed way to enjoy this film is to just watch the raw interview footage.  I could watch 10 more hours of those interviews!

BTW, best part of the movie is when Fenriz is in the gallery and he picks up the Bjarne Melgaard card with his name on it!  LOL!

sorry to be a flaming douche bag, myself, and reply to my own post, but let me be a little more pointed and distill this:

What if if this film was less about the bittersweet "fall" of black metal, and more of simply a "pulpit" for not just Varg, but all the main players?  Isn't that even more hands off?  Cut down on Melgaard and give more time to Frost for your non-spoonfed "foil."  Think of it as more of a true roundtable discussion.  And how does Immortal talking about their "Wiking" names not make it to the final cut?  hahaha!

What would be the point of making a film if it's just going to be raw interview footage?  At that point, it has ceased to be a film and is instead just an archival project: valuable, sure, but not of interest in and of itself.

The point here isn't that Until the Light Takes Us is viewpoint neutral (it isn't, and who would want it to be?), the point is that, like any art worth mentioning, it presents that viewpoint through structure and implication and experience rather than voiceovers or polemic or the other usual techniques of documentary producers.

not of interest in and of itself.

Pfft.  Grade A bullshit right here.  I'd go for the ten hours of raw interview footage over Until the Light Takes Us.

The whole interpretive dance thing was pretty fucking weird. The art exhibit/fire breathing/mock suicide display was also a bit off putting.

I think you merely wanted the movie to be about something (an overview of black metal, it's philosophy, and it's importance) it really isn't.

not of interest in and of itself.

Pfft.  Grade A bullshit right here.  I'd go for the ten hours of raw interview footage over Until the Light Takes Us.

My point is that archival footage holds no interest beyond its value as a resource: there's no point in making a film if all you're going to do is compile unedited interview footage.  I find myself wondering exactly what it is that the naysayers wanted this film to be.  It handled the material presented in an intelligent, respectful and thoughtful manner, treating Vikernes and Fenriz as the first rank artists that they are.  What more could you want?