Engaging but slightly shallow documentary about Iceland's flourishing music scene
'Gargandi snilld', or 'Screaming Masterpiece' as it is known in English, is a documentary featuring many of the bands to have come out of Iceland in recent decades, including Sigur Ros, The Sugarcubes, Mum and Bang Gang. While it falls short of really answering the question "Why is a country of 300,000 people so music-mad?', it does go some way towards documenting the nation's culture through its musical endeavours.
Fans of creative and alternative bands will no doubt be enthralled by the combination of live concert footage and intimate performances staged for the film-maker's cameras. Frustratingly only the interviews are translated, rather than the lyrics of some of the performances. While this matters less with the likes of Sigur Ros (whose vocalist sings in a made-up language rather than Icelandic)it is a critical oversight with some of the bands, such as a hip-hop outfit whose MC talks passionately about the importance of his lyrics.
Similarly, the film does little more than scratch the surface when it comes to asking why Icelanders are so passionately engaged with the creation of music; nor does it really look the impact of the once-deeply ingrained Lutheran religious code upon Icelandic culture.
Despite these flaws, and its lack of a critical focus, as a lover of music, and especially as a fan of many of the bands featured in 'Gargandi snilld', I found this an enthralling and engaging documentary film.
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