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Page last updated at 11:49 GMT, Thursday, 18 December 2008
Arcade Fire turn home movies into film

By Greg Cochrane
Newsbeat music reporter

Arcade Fire
Miroir Noir premiers intimate footage of the band's spectacular live performances

Arcade Fire have been speaking about their debut movie Miroir Noir.

The DVD is the first time the secretive group have released extended video footage.

Miroir Noir, shot over a two year period, is the joint project of the Canadian band, director Vincent Morisset and cameraman Vincent Moon.

The film includes footage of Win Butler and co working on their second record Neon Bible, home videos and intimate live clips collected during 2006 and 2007.

Home videos

"Our goal was to capture the show a little bit, recording stuff and then to capture the excitement of the band live," lead singer Win Butler told Newsbeat. "A lot of it is like home movies which we shot while we were making the record [Neon Bible]."

The 70 minute documentary is deliberately shot in a low budget style - including camcorder footage of their church studio, backstage rituals and visits to the beach.

"For us it made a lot more sense to have one or two cameras and to it more punk style than have a giant camera crew," explained Win. "I always find live DVDs kind of boring.

"The problem with a lot of live band DVDs is that there's something very different to being in the audience and watching a video of being in an audience."

Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire have begun working on their third album

Notoriously private

The group are notoriously private. With that in mind they chose close friends to produce their first video output.

"Vincent Morisset [director] is one of Regine's really close friends from college in Montreal.

"Vincent Moon was actually at our first Paris show out front with a sign with his girlfriend saying 'Please we need tickets we need to get in', and Regine let him into the show.

"We've known those guys for a long time so it was easy to tune out and forget that there was anyone there."

Importantly Miroir Noir retains the band's cloak of mystery but does also display some previously masked sides to the group.

"There's a lot of humour in the film which probably isn't necessarily what people think when they think about our band," Win said."The joking around-ness is captured in a few places."

Meanwhile, the majority of the documentary features clips of the band's live show captured by Moon.

"There's a shot during Black Waves where Vincent Moon comes on stage and you see Jeremy drumming up close," explained Win. "There are a few points that have this visceral connection to the live shows that I'm really pleased with.

"If you saw us at a festival or somewhere from far back I don't know if you'd necessarily see the effort that's going into it."

Somewhat oddly the movie opens with a scene where the band are systematically put to sleep.

Win: "We wanted to see what it'd be like to try and hypnotise the whole band and play music while we were hypnotised.

"But apparently it's hard to hypnotise a bunch of jokers in a room when the hypnotist doesn't speak English as his first language."

The film principally captures the group's movements between 2006-2007 - the conclusion of the Neon Bible sessions and the unrelenting schedule of touring which followed.

"Right out of the gate it was so intense," recalled Win. "16 hours a day working like maniacs we went straight out and did 16 shows in two and a half weeks.

"It was a weird thing where the first half of the whole [touring] process was this trial of will where I was literally so sick I couldn't play.

"It felt like the second half we really kind of found our stride and started to figure some things out. It wasn't such a climbing Mount Everest type of experience."

There are a few points that have this visceral connection to the live shows that I'm really pleased with
Win Butler, Arcade Fire

Director's view

"The project was more about spontaneity and just capturing what was happening," explained Vincent Morisset. "It was not about touring and the life of a band on tour."

And his close relationship with the band meant he could, along with Takeaway show creator Vincent Moon, harbour some uncensored footage.

"I was part of the family - I know already their limits and where I could go," he said.

"We respected this space of privacy. This project was not about destructing a myth or saying, 'Hey these people are just really normal, eating their cereals in the morning'."

The band also revealed they've began working on material for their third album, demoing songs in Win's house and their church studio.



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