A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness
Time Out says
More art film than film-film, this is a poetic, experimental work from Ben Rivers and Ben Russell. Split into three sections, each follows musician and artist Robert AA Lowe playing an unnamed character who never speaks. We see him first in a countryside commune somewhere in Europe, alienated and isolated as children in Breton-striped T-shirts run around in the mud. Hippies with Mac laptops sit around talking about stuff (‘There was a point where everybody had somebody’s finger in their asshole,’ says one guy telling a story about a party). In the second episode Lowe takes a rowing boat to an isolated island in northern Finland. In the third he sings with a Norwegian death metal band in a basement club to an audience of larger-than-average men with beards. These scenes are hypnotic, the band’s faces whitened into voodoo halloween masks, the frontman screeching like an angsty zombie. For some this will feel like an arthouse endurance test, but it’s shot, on Super 16, with real beauty.