Saturday, April 9, 2011

Film review: Karkwa: Les Cendres de verre

Writer/Director: Nathanaël Le Scouarnec
Producer: Sandy Boutin
Music documentary, 51 minutes

Karkwa: Les Cendres de verre (Ashes of Glass) is a portrait of the Polaris Prize-winning Montreal-based band Karkwa filmed in the weeks before the release of their fourth album Chemins de verre (Road of Glass). Not so much a documentary as it is an episodic music video/concert film with some behind-the-scenes moments, it nonetheless paints an interesting picture of the band.

Often described as a Quebec Radiohead, their music is perhaps better. I've not been terribly fond of Radiohead's recent electronica, and Karkwa's performances lean towards the acoustic and singing in harmony. Their compositions are well-shaped and have form and direction which are too often missing in the repetitiveness of contemporary pop songs.

They exude a great deal of charisma and the audiences clearly enjoy themselves -- singing along with the choruses, dancing, and even marching out of the venue into minus-20-degree weather with the band during an encore. Karkwa obviously enjoy themselves too, laughing and smiling throughout their performances.

Karkwa: Les Cendres de verre played to sold-out screenings during the recent Festival international du film sur l'art (FIFA). If you missed it then, you should try to catch it in theatres over the next little while. Fans of the group will enjoy it, but so too will those who want to discover an exciting band that deserves greater acclaim.

Karkwa: Les Cendres de verre will be playing at Cinéma du Parc (3575 Avenue du Parc, Montreal) from April 9th to 14th preceded by short film Opasatica, as well as at Théâtre Petit-Champlain (68 Rue du Petit Champlain, Quebec City) on April 20th.

Teaser "Les Cendres de Verre" from Watch Your Steps on Vimeo.

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