I happened to stumble across The Misanthrope by accident when I was browsing snapper music’s website, and I ordered it right away. I didn’t really know what I was buying exactly, so I read a little bit about it on the Internet and the terms fictitious movie, home footage and documentary surfaced. After watching it, I still haven’t come to any conclusion of what it technically is. So I quote the words of Soren Kierkegaard: “Once you label me, you negate me”- I feel this applies greatly to the Misanthrope.
There is no narrative or plot in the film, it consists of a collection of chapters aptly named. The footage ranges from ice fishing expeditions to Darkthrone rehearsal footage, scenes from a trip to Japan including live Gallhammer footage, and Nocturno Culto riding a bike. I liked the fact that this movie has such a strange comedic element, when telling my friend about it over the phone, hearing myself say “Nocturno Culto did a wheelie” made me sort of stop and think, ahh what? and I burst out laughing. I guess I didn’t expect to be amused by the film, although I suspect you have to have a very dry sense of humor to fully appreciate The Misanthrope.
I need to get one thing straight: this is not a ‘conventional’ documentary on black metal, there is nothing in the film about anything that is notorious within the Black Metal ‘scene’. I think most BM fans who complain about this film on forums take the whole thing a bit too seriously, you say: “Aren’t these people supposed to be grim evil motherfuckers? Yet here they are ice fishing and playing Chinese checkers!” Well… I could not think of anything more boring than watching Darkthrone rehearse for 56 minutes, (actually I could but I am trying to stress a point here) so I am glad I got to see some stunning visuals, interesting characters and footage of one of my favourite bands (Aura Noir) performing.
The Misanthrope is a film that will either speak to you or it won’t. It isn’t an art film, yet it has real desolate imagery that is so simplistic and speaks volumes, suggesting “artsy” qualities, but in context with the rest of the film it isn’t an art film. I found some of the sequences to be foreboding and the at times creepy soundtrack rather confronting and whether this was Nocturno Culto’s intention or not, it doesn’t matter because that is what I took from the film. Regardless of the author’s vision, this is a film that relies heavily on you to use that thing called your mind. It’s not a fucking Pantera home video, and you’re an idiot if that’s what you think you are going to get.
So my conclusion is “If you are great, The Misanthrope is a great picture. If you are limited, The Misanthrope is limited.” (Sorry Jodorowsky, I couldn’t help it)
It is a really impressive looking set, and comes with a booklet full of images from the film. There is also a second disc which is the soundtrack. For those of you who care: the first 600 copies are signed by Nocturno Culto.
Be sure to read my interview with Nocturno Culto by clicking here.
- Rare Darkthrone live footage
- Promo video for Too Old Too Cold
- Photo Gallery
- Bonus audio CD
The Misanthrope is available on R0 DVD from Snapper Music.