On May 9th, The National will release a double disc set entitled A Skin, A Night. Featuring an exclusive DVD of the same title by French director Vincent Moon (renowned for his Takeaway Shows) and a bonus 12 track Virginia EP on CD.
I have a lot of goodwill towards Vincent Moon who has proven himself as an adept indie rock film-maker. To be honest though, I’m not particularly taken with The National (At least I wasn’t before last night. This may have changed). I found the hour-long documentary which focuses on backstage/studio footage and the making of Boxer to be an entirely gripping document of a band that has inexplicably risen to popularity much to their own surprise. The film is shot in Moon’s trademark muted tones and beefed up with abstract shots of the New York city skyline, blurred subways and venue tracking angles.
There is hardly any narrative or talking heads interviews, the bands are shy and awkward and they make their feelings on being filmed known from the outset when they say the process is “like being captured with a gun”. There are mesmerising crowd shots, devoid of noise which transform the visuals into powerful footage.
The film culminates in an eerily caught live performance which feels slightly voyeuristic as it is shot from the back of the stage. A fascinating film and a must see for fans.