Arcade Fire: The Reflektor TapesCultureCinemaMovie reviews
Telling the tale of the creation of Montreal band Arcade Fire’s latest critically acclaimed album, Reflektor, documentary The Reflektor Tapes is essentially a 75-minute-long audiovisual essay. Containing footage from live shows, recording sessions and fly-on-the-wall conversations, fans are treated to a unique insight into the band’s writing process, frontman Win Butler’s philosophy, inspirations for the album and even a previously unreleased song.
The film captures the struggle of translating philosophical musings into music. Regine Chassagne draws inspiration from her mixed background, and the band has quirkier motivations, notably heading out wearing “big heads”, huge plastic masks of themselves, in order to fully experience things.
Beginning with a trip to Jamaica and travelling through Haiti and further on the band’s Reflektor tour, it’s clear the film is intended to be more than just a rockumentary. Directed by Kahlil Joseph, it’s definitely well put together: the imagery is fascinating and the lack of traditional sit-down interviews suits the band’s untraditional style. Even the concert footage is broken up and overlaid with images.
While it’s undoubtedly a fascinating piece of visual storytelling and some of the band’s musings on creativity are intriguing, it’s difficult to see The Reflektor Tapes finding much of an audience outside the band’s avid fan base. It’s a bit too footage-heavy, entire songs are included and, though we hear snatches of stories, there’s not really enough to draw in anyone without an already established interest.
The Reflektor Tapes is released nationwide on 23rd September 2015.
Watch the trailer for The Reflektor Tapes here: