Today’s feature is the 2008 film documentary by dutch director David Kleijwegt about one of my favorite Minnesota bands – Low. This 70 minute document is a multimedia portrait of an unique American family and band. The film focuses on the two core members of the band; Alan Sparhawk and his wife Mimi Parker. Throughout the film you are treated to interviews with both members (although it focuses on Sparhawk), along with snapshots of their daily life (along with their two children), with ample time for live performances. The locale of the film was mainly Low’s home town of Duluth Minnesota which I found a little peculiar considering I had just vacationed there a week before viewing the film.
Sparhawk is an odd interview subject as he hardly ever makes eye contact with the director or looks into the camera unless he is singing. Most of his time is spent looking off into the distance obviously caught up in what is going on inside his head. The film surprisingly tackles the two hot-buttoned issues (if there can be such thing) that surround the band, those being the fact that the two core members are devout Mormons, and Sparhawk’s emotional breakdown in 2005. The film covers the two issues delicately and both Alan and Mimi answer questions honestly and bravely. I still was left a little confused by some of Alan’s explanations about his breakdown as he was really unable to answer clearly – but I can imagine that the experience would be the least clear to him.
Considering I grew up in Minnesota, and I have been a huge fan of Low since the late 1990s I may be a little biased on this film. Overall I thought the film was a perfect companion to their music, having the same emotional properties of their songs – chilling, pensive, minimal, and starkly beautiful. So obviously if you are a fan of the music this film is a must see. The film may be a little too quiet and slow for most music fans, so unless you are at least a little familiar with their music I would start with some of their early releases. If you like that, then you will most likely enjoy the film. Personally I dream of a world in which everyone is a Low fan, it would be a much better place.
There is also another Low documentary out there called Low In Europe which was released on DVD in 2005.
The DVD also features 6 audio tracks that were especially recorded during the filming of the documentary as a special feature titled “At Home with Low”. Preview them below… (click here if you do not see the playlist)