In 2006, post-rock cum quasi-classical soundscape quartet Sigur Rós returned home to Iceland after a world tour to play a series of free shows. For the band, it was a way of giving something back to the locals who’d long been supportive of them and an acknowledgement of how Iceland looms large in their aesthetic. Filmed over two weeks in summer, ‘Heima’ (meaning ‘at home’ or ‘homeland’) is a record of these gigs, played in venues as unlikely as a disused herring factory and – alfresco and entirely acoustic – an anti-dam protest camp, with additional footage of the band rehearsing, candid backstage shots and interviews with the extended group of players.
Iceland’s extraordinary natural beauty is as much a star of the movie as Sigur Rós’s magisterial music and the all-local crew could hardly have done a more impressive promotional job had ‘Heima’ been commissioned by the Icelandic Tourist Board itself. Filming every one of the seven shows means a repetitiveness sets in and there is perhaps one too many shots of photogenic children staring wide-eyed in wonder while the band plays. But, as rock movies go, this provides an atypically intense – and enormously pleasurable – experience.