The First Days of Spring

The Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) was the venue, the band “Noah and the Whale”, the album-film “The First Days of Spring”, the result a bit mixed…

When I first heard “5 Years Time” I could not help but feel a smile to take shape in my face and I almost felt compelled to sing along the addictive “sun, sun, sun” choir. So when I heard that the ICA was going to hold a gig with the band and that they were also going to screen the film that was supposed to be released together with their new album I decided to get a couple of tickets.

The venue was, as usual Thursday evening, packed with people and the fact that there was also a play in the theatre added to the general feeling of an art evening. Eventually, people started to make their way to Cinema 1, where the film was shown. The film producer Olivier Kaempfer introduced the film by mentioning that they would start by showing what can only be described as a home made extended video of an unplugged impromptu gig at someone’s house. It obviously had its value, but I would have rather seen that playing in the bar as a background rather than the introduction to the film

By the time the actual film started you had already heard the main songs of the album and thus there was no actual surprise as to what the music brought to the narrative of the film. Now, for those of you who would have imagined that Dalí’s painting would have been some form of inspiration for the images in the film would be very disappointed. Instead we are presented with a low-budget 45-minute piece that tries to be an exploration of broken hearts, break-ups and loss. Although for someone as young as Fink, it seems to me to be early days to suffer that much for someone. That is not to say that his pain is not a valid emotion, but given some of the clichéd lyrics, you would know what I mean.

In my opinion the best scene of the shot film is the one where a seemingly serious and earnest elderly gentleman breaks into dance at the rhythm of an orchestral arrangement entitled “Love of an Orchestra”.

During the question and answer session, Fink mentioned that the idea of making the film along with the album was to provide the latter with a framework in which the audience has no choice but to listen to the entire compilation of songs, and what better way to keep the audience captive than in a dark cinema. Personally I don’t see anything wrong with being able to pick and choose the songs that you prefer in an album. This is a process that has happened even before the age of iTunes and the iPod. Just think of all those mixed tapes that people used to make for one another; some of them even with the same excuse of a broken heart.

Tonight the band has a gig in the same venue as part of the screening of the film. I hope that the live performance brings the best out their music; the film did not make it for me.