Hot Docs Review: Band (Alfrun Ornolfsdottir, 2022)


Everyone has their own definiton of success. In the realm of performing musicians, some might strive to be mega-pop stars selling out stadiums while others will be satisfied with playing DIY basement punk shows for the rest of their lives, but odds are that all of them want some measure of recognition for their efforts. This notion of what it means to succeed, or to “make it”, is at the core of Álfrún Örnólfsdóttir’s Band.

Örnólfsdóttir is not only the director of this film, but as a member of The Post Performance Blues Band (or PPBB for short), she’s also one of its major protagonists. With all three members having been at this for awhile, they begin to wonder whether it’s worth it to continue playing to minimal crowds while also balancing their family lives as well as their other artistic pursuits. So they give themselves an ultimatum – if they’re not a success within one year, then the PPBB will call it quits. And if they fail, then so be it.

Along the way, the band meets up with a cast of colourful characters who offer up advice or assistance in one form or another, including their collaborator Petur, whose role in the PPBB as a sort of Schrodinger’s Cat of bandmates (is he or isn’t he in the band?) is one of the sources of tension within the film.

In a brief intro before the screening, Örnólfsdóttir advised the audience to just “have fun” while watching and while there are some moments of drama and tension along the way, Band is ultimately a lot of fun. The members of PPBB (and Petur) are all quite likeable and the live footage of the band in action were something to behold.

And those who stuck around last night were treated to an extra bonus as the band took to the stage post-screening for a short performance that demonstrated up close and personal what they’re all about. Part performance art, part modern dance, part electro/punk/pop/whatever, the Post Performance Blues Band put on an entertaining mini-set that definitely captured the crowd’s attention. I’d count that as a success.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts, Hot Docs