If you have ever met the parents of a friend and suddenly felt like you knew him or her much better, understood more of why they do some of the things they do, then you know something of what it feels like to watch Heima.
Icelandic for homecoming, Heima is a documentary on the band Sigur Rós and their 2006 summer tour around their native country, Iceland. News of the shows, spread almost entirely by word of mouth, drew eclectic crowds in places ranging from large staged venues to an abandon herring factory in a northern ghost town. Playing their songs in the midst of the rolling fields, steep volcanic cliffs and black sand beaches reveals that this band sees itself as co-creators. While they are making something unique with every song they write, there is nothing new about their music; it’s simply the sounds of the people and places that have long existed in this beautiful northern land.
What started as an idea for a fitting end to several years of globetrotting for the band quickly turned into a unifying storyline for an entire nation. It is this narrative thread, matched with the sounds of Sigur Ros and the indescribable images captured by Alan Calzatti, that make Heima a cinematic wonder.
Watching the film you see that this tour was not a PR or publicity stunt by a rock band. Sigur Rós went from one corner of their country to the other: blessing it, validating it, and thanking it for making them who they are. Whether it is a young girl having milk and cookies in a coffee house with her grandmother or 25,000 people mobbed in front of a traditional concert stage, each performance communicates a love and admiration for the people and places their sounds fill. Each stop along the tour is the solo performance that place deserves.
Heima shows us just how much we are a product of our environment. For better or worse, that from which you came has defined and shaped you. Whether that truth is buried deep beneath layers of pain or is joyfully obvious to everyone you meet, who you are is deeply rooted in where you come from.
As you get lost in the transcendent beauty of Sigur Rós’ Heima, it invites you to consider a Heima of your own.