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While the Psychotronic Film Society tends to show movies that edge on the far side of camp, their last September selection while cultish, has some major merits, especially if you are a music fan. Or a fan of Iceland. Or a fan of music from Iceland.

2 years in the making, Screaming Masterpiece sets out on (to me: seemingly impossible) trail of answering the question most of us have while listening to Bjork or Sigur Ros: “What the hell is this all about?”

The first half of the film tries to establish the essence of Icelandic music. Tribalism and history play a great role, which leads you to understand the fundamental nature of bands like Sigur Ros and Mum. But much like in their music, please don’t expect any cohesive narrative to appear anywhere. The film is as layered and segmented as some of the finest music that came from this country.

The time frame jumps from the 80s (is that a baby Bjork singing in her first band) to present time, intercepted with music showcases. It even, of all things, touches upon Icelandic hip hop, heavy metal and the like. Editing and/or critical focus was obviously not their priority.
It all turns sort of muddled and non-linear and occasionally frustrating… But what it lacks in (sane) direction it more than makes up for with amazing music. While Sigur Ros is never interviewed, Bjork does make an appearance, but musically AND in an interview. The musicianship is unbelievable: string sections layered on top of brass orchestras on top of delicate vocals to come to a wonderful climax.

And discovering bands like SlowBlow or Mugison is well worth suffering through those Linkin Park wannabes early on.

But be warned:
Some key questions are never answered. Why do most male singers have such high pitched voices? Why do the girls sing so unusually? Is Bjork actually human? What did a drunk Damon Albarn telling about Icelandic beaches have to do with anything?

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