2023 Milwaukee Film Festival: Day Five “Band”

BAND is one of those films where it’s hard to tell what is literally true in its documentary-like presentation. I suspect very little. Conversely, it’s easy to tell what’s emotionally true, practically all of the film.

Milwaukee Film describes BAND as follows:

Icelandic performance art meets THIS IS SPINAL TAP in this wickedly fun look at women behaving creatively. Each on the brink of 40, the three women of The Post Performance Blues
Band give themselves one year to become pop stars or quit the
band for good. What follows is a make-it-or-break-it story of triumphant sisterhood.”

You don’t need THIS IS SPINAL TAP mentioned to know the idea that an Icelandic performance art band can become pop stars in a year is a Herculean quest almost certain to fail and is going to lead to dreams meeting crushing reality. Often to comic effect. Debates the band has within are often proven to be of little to no consequence as anti-climaxes abound. The one throughline is that these women enjoy making art together. Directed by Álfrún Örnólfsdóttir, one of the members of the band, the film is a piece of performance art itself, simultaneously celebrating the band and engaging in a puncturing of pretensions worthy of Spinal Tap themselves.

Spinal Tap has come up in this review several times, therefore it’s important to bring up one important point. While BAND may be warm and emotionally honest, it’s not really all that funny. There certainly are consistent chuckles along the way. But is there a moment of Stonehenge lowering itself to the stage in all its glory? Not even close. It’s a film of mild chuckles and perhaps gains power in the aftermath, but if you’re aiming for a comedy, there’s likely better out there.

BAND has one more screening at the Milwaukee Film Festival on Wednesday, April 26 at 6:00 pm at the Oriental Theatre. The 2023 Milwaukee Film Festival runs from April 20, 2023 until May 4, 2023. Tickets can be purchased via MKEFILM.ORG.