Friday, 30 October 2009

ROKK Í REYKJAVÍK (ICELAND/1982/FRIĐRIK ÞÓR FRIĐRIKSSON)

Although the title would suggest a wider scope of music, Friðrik Þór Friðriksson’s made-for-TV rockumentary is at heart a vehement tribute to the relatively new insurgence of punk music in Iceland. The film starts with a staged a cappella performance by neopagan chorister Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson, who is brusquely interrupted by the title. Short interviews punctuate explosive performances by various bands who neither receive nor necessitate introduction. The wonderfully wacky world of Icelandic experimental film is also briefly touched upon.

Whether it was intentional or not, Friðriksson has created the perfect musical time capsule here, a fragment of the past preserved purely by its haecceity. These days, Iceland has one of the most influential music scenes in the world, proven by the popularity of international stars such as Sigur Rós, múm and Björk (who appears as a feisty 15-year-old in the film). Consequently, it makes for hilarious viewing to see how homogenised the scene was 25 years ago. When teenage singer Bjarni Þórðarson takes an axe to his... well, axe, in a precocious act of rebellion, it seems to encapsulate the frustration of this compromise of identity. This is reflected in the fashion too: despite all the studded leather jackets and spiky wristbands, almost everyone in the film is wearing at least one item of knitwear. Girls are even seen knitting peacefully at these high-energy gigs. The music may not be to everyone’s tastes, but only the heartless will fail to be absorbed by the raw passion in these musician’s performances.




1 comment:

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