As I finally got to witness the band Noah and the Whale on stage last night, it reminded me of two things that are relevant to this blog. Firstly, that the band are named after my favourite Noah Baumbach film, The Squid and the Whale, and secondly that the band’s lead singer Charlie Fink made a film to accompany their sophomore album The First Days of Spring way back when it was released in 2009. As an ever clear example of how efficient I am, it’s taken me until today to actually watch this film, despite the fact that the album it accompanies is one of my favourites of the past few years.
Anyone familiar with the album will know that’s it’s very emotional, it’s pretty much a concept album about a break up and Charlie’s lyrics manages to encompass every shitty feeling that a human being can feel after they’ve been dumped. So I was expecting the film to echo all this emotion, and boy, I was not let down, there was emotion coming out my ears (whatever that means.) I mean just look at these stills;
Yup, pretty damn emotional.
The album plays over every scene with only a few seconds of dialogue spread out through its 40 minute duration, and for something to look at while listening to the songs, it really serves its purpose. It’s shot incredibly well and manages to capture the essence of the album perfectly, a big criticism of the film is that some people only view it as a really long music video, but it’s definitely a lot more than that as it has a lot more depth than most music videos, and without sounding incredibly pretentious, you can tell that the film was very personal experience for Charlie and a lot of his heart evidentially went into making it.
Hopefully this won’t contradict everything I’ve said so far, but the films main downfall is that the plot is very hard to distinguish. The lack of dialogue and concentration on visuals makes sure that the narrative of the film takes a back seat, there’s also an un-linear timeline to distort it even more. There’s definitely a story taking place and I was desperate to work it all out, but it was only when the characters names came up in the end credits that I realised that I had just watched three segments of a man’s life.
If you know the album as well as I do and you haven’t seen this yet, I urge you to watch it as soon as possible. If you have never listened to it, this is definitely not the best place to start. You can watch it HERE, free and legal.