Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Confined Contentment

Regardless of the fact that as a teenager and also in my early youth, I was a hardcore metalhead, Until the Light Takes Us, had a great impact on me. Not just because, the documentary takes an almost in-depth look into the uprising days of Norwegian Black Metal, bringing forth its history, stories and legends, but also the way it depicts some social and existential situations. Following mostly three main figures of this extreme music genre - Varg 'Count Grishnackh' Vikernes (Burzum), Gylve 'Fenriz' Nagell (Darkthrone) and Kjetil 'Frost' Haraldstad (Satyricon) - the film captures three different human conditions and figural relations with the space.

Varg Vikernes, well-known for burning churches and murdering a fellow Black Metal musician (Øystein 'Euronymous' Aarseth of the band Mayhem) is interviewed and filmed at his cell in Trondheim Maximum Security Prison; An ideologist and paganist whose extreme actions has led him to this confined, isolated space, disconnected from the society - the society which he regarded as an Americanized/Christianized entity, almost deprived from its Norwegian roots and origins. During his trial in 1994, we can see Vikerness smiling at the courtroom, and even after about 14 years, his face and total gestures reflect a sort of unity and tranquility with his confined environmental space - Does he actually find serenity apart from the majority and the agonizing (capitalized) society?

Fenriz, is much more a hermit and a vagabond character; “more like a philosopher than an ideologist”, Vikerness says about him. We can see him as a music fanatic, a restless soul, always wandering around Oslo; An introvert flâneur heading into a pub, smoking and drinking beer. We mostly watch him in the film while he rides a train, walking slowly and heavily in the snow, or even moving here and there in his house. But despite of his restlessness, he obviously cannot trespass beyond an "average" scale of the space, he once goes for a Black Metal art exhibition in Stockholm but not further (except the phone-call that he’s interviewed by a female journalist from abroad). He’s not as isolated and marginalized as Vikerness, but he still inhabits his own world, disconnected from the society but yet within it - Is this why his face reflects such an odd fragility and dissatisfaction?

Frost, neither as Vikerness and nor like Fenriz, seems to be open to the world around him. He sees no limit in participating in a shocking performance at Galleria Laura Pecci. He heads toward Milan, searching and experiencing a larger-scale spatial environment. But that’s strangely moving what Frost’s facial, gestural and behavioral acts present in Until the Light Takes Us. As if like a wounded person, the further he travels, he welcomes more his own self-destruction. Is this a kind of existential revolt, when you cannot resist the society while you cannot accept it either? So the question is how possibly a marginalized and off-beat person can find contentment in the contemporary society, if not by his self-wanted confinement?

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