Monday, April 6, 2009

Arcade Fire’s
Miroir Noir: Neon Bible Archives
Tony Minnick

With all of my money dedicated towards summer music festivals, I was immediately relieved when the opportunity to see The Arcade Fire’s Miroir Noir on for free popped up last week. The Arcade Fire disappeared from the indie scene in 2008, much to my dismay, after four years of non-stop touring in support of 2004’s Funeral and 2007’s Neon Bible. With a near cult following and nothing mapped out for the near future, Win Butler and crew decided to meet with friend and director, Vincent Morisset, to capture the experiences that came from Neon Bible, so as to give diehard fans a small taste of what’s to come in the future of The Arcade Fire.
The 70-minute documentary covers the making of Neon Bible through obscure studio clips and makes a valiant attempt at capturing their live show with off-angle camera shots and images of fans losing their minds. It all begins with the stunning “Wake Up”, played with a megaphone in the packed streets of Paris. This footage quickly cuts into “Black Mirror”, captured with a red-lense camera effect. Where most music documentaries become dry propositions with extended live cuts and commentary, Miroir Noir stays exciting with short scenes designed for those with a short attention span. New song renditions fill the film, with “Intervention” played in an empty chapel and “Neon Bible” played with the full band in an elevator (a clip made famous by La Blogotheque).
Most of the behind the scenes footage is focused towards more active fans, with simple scenes like Regine Chassagne doing vocal exercises or the band laying on their backs in a collective meditation. After releasing Neon Bible in 2007, the Arcade Fire set up 1-800-NEONBIBLE so as to receive criticism and also make a mockery of advertising hotlines. They use the collection of call-in recordings to create infomercials for the “Neon Bible Religious Cult” many times in the documentary. These mock-commercials and clips of the band dancing, goofing on dodgems, and drinking “hard lemonade” in the streets of Montreal give the film a lively spirit and make the band more personable.
Trying to capture the beauty of an Arcade Fire show on film is a nearly impossible feat. Where Morisset comes closest to capturing this sensational experience makes for the most fertile material in the film. An amazingly still camera captures “My Body Is a Cage” in the middle section of the movie. The film reaches a stunning climax with “Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)” and finally concludes with “Rebellion (Lies)” from Funeral. If The Arcade Fire’s goal in Miroir Noir was to excite fans and make a gorgeous return after their yearlong break, the achieved success in every possible way. Be sure to watch the documentary at while it lasts, and then order it digitally from their homepage once the viewing trial ends.

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