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Until the Light Takes Us (2008)

Gylve Nagell , Jan Axel Blomberg , Aaron Aites , Audrey Ewell  |  NR |  DVD
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)


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Product Details

  • Actors: Gylve Nagell, Jan Axel Blomberg, Varg Vikernes
  • Directors: Aaron Aites, Audrey Ewell
  • Format: Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Factory 25
  • DVD Release Date: October 19, 2010
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003R9K08S
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,824 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Until the Light Takes Us" on IMDb

Special Features

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Editorial Reviews

Until The Light Takes Us tells the story of black metal. Part music scene and part cultural uprising, black metal rose to worldwide notoriety in the mid-nineties when a rash of suicides, murders, and church burnings accompanied the explosive artistic growth and output of a music scene that would forever redefine what heavy metal is and what it stands for to other musicians, artists and music fans world-wide. The Film goes behind the highly sensationalized media reports of "Satanists running amok in Europe" to examine the complex and largely misunderstood principles and beliefs of the scene.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
37 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising - Not just for Black Metal Fans August 30, 2010
Format:DVD
Directors Aaron Aites and Audrey Ewell have done something remarkable here: They made an artful, thoughtful documentary about a potentially lurid subject.

In the '80s and '90s, a scary, primitive subgenre of heavy metal took root in wealthy, beautiful Norway. How and why Black Metal was created, and how it suddenly exploded into a media frenzy as some of its practitioners started burning down churches and committing murders... that's what this film explores.

But it's all somehow handled with restraint, and mainly from the point of view of the musicians themselves. There are interviews with many of the main players in Norway's black metal scene, including the infamous and eerily charming Varg Vikernes from his dorm-like prison cell, but there's very little performance footage here -- it's not a "rock documentary" in that sense. In fact in a way "Until The Light" unfolds more like an art film. To the filmmakers, Black Metal is an opportunity to explore how artistic intent and meaning gets re-interpreted and twisted by culture and media. It's the ultimate post-modern tale.

That said, the film is gripping, full of fascinating and contradictory characters. The soundtrack features hushed electronica by bands like Mum, the cinematography swings between gritty handheld stuff and composed naturescapes... it's an unusual atmosphere for a documentary. If you're into Black Metal you're going to watch this movie anyway, but indie movie lovers should give it a spin too.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Ok, the movie is great, I have no qualms with it at all. This is more about the limited edition 2-disc version I just pulled out from my box (hehe) and viewed, listened to, touched, smelled, and would taste if that wasn't totally uncanny.

The DVDs are beautifully packaged, in what appears to be a newer type of plastic clamp system (instead of popping the disc out, you go "down and up"). DO NOT FORCE THE DISC OUT NO MATTER HOW EXCITED YOU MAY BE TO HEAR FENRIZ TALK FOR AN HOUR. You will break it. While the package is minimalist and sleek, it is constructed almost completely out of paperboard, so wear and damage over time is a possiblilty. The artwork, however, is breathtaking - the disc covers resemble little Polish paper cuts, or the cover of an Agalloch album (think slate purples and grays, with black animal silhouettes). A very informative booklet sits inside without any individual housing pocket.

One of the greatest things about recieving this was that there was a sticker on the shrinkwrap stating "4 Extra Hours of Black Metal." How often does one see that? While some of the extras are neat, like most cutting room slag, the viewer understands why it was left behind. The extra footage is wonderfully organized by band, so fans can navigate through what they want to see easily. BTW there was a TON of Enslaved and Ulver footage that didn't make it in (lame). We also get to see Fenriz create a "History of Black Metal" bubble chart on a chalkboard, but alas being raw footage it is incredibly lengthy and at times boring.

Of course metalheads around the world have been yapping on about "Until the Light Takes Us" for the months prior and after its release, but this movie is so artfully and cleanly done that I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in music subculture and, without thinking this a stretch, world cultures.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly Human January 9, 2011
By K.I.B.
Format:Blu-ray
When I was a fifteen year old punk growing up in Austin, Texas, this thing called the internet completely changed the mode through which I, and so many others like me, were exposed to new music. I know that Burzum and Darkthrone weren't creating their art with teenagers in the sunny suburbs of Texas who wore NOFX t-shirts, smoked pot, and waited anxiously for somebody to beat the LA Lakers in mind. But, unfortunately for those guys, and fortunately for the legion of like-minded American youngsters, they were that damned intriguing that we took notice...and we had a hard time looking away.

Here is the interesting part; that was 1999-2000, so these Black Metallers from their tucked away corner of the globe were already entering their second decade as bands...or inmates. Fast forward eleven more years to 2010 and we have overpriced picture books, parody albums, guest appearances, American kvlts, and even a few documentary films.

"Until the Light Takes Us" is a lot of things, but most importantly it is NOT a journalistic expose into "the intriguing and mysterious world of Black Metal". If anything, thank Odin, this film is a subtle middle finger to all those "pieces" that attempt to either exploit atrocity or over-intellectualize. For too long outsiders, like myself, have had unauthorized license to make BM into what they want it to be. But behind the veiled mystery are real people, real cultures, real history. Black Metal wasn't spewed from hell upon us, it came about under very real circumstances. "Until the Light Takes Us" puts those real people and circumstances side-by-side with the BS'ers who think they understand.
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17 of 23 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Irrelevancies get in the way of the story. May 27, 2011
Format:DVD
The Norwegian black metal scene is ideal documentary material. It's got that unrestrained Grand Guignol sweep: murder, violence, dramatic grandstanding, artistic pretension, colourful characters, shocking and objectionable political statements, and an overall strange and unworldly atmosphere, sometimes expressed with interesting music. For a film-maker, this should be low-hanging fruit. Just tell the story the way it happened, and the audience is all yours.

Well, they tried. Until The Light Takes Us gets close to many black metal veterans, particularly Fenriz of Darkthrone, as well as the infamous Count Grishnakh, in prison at the time. To their credit, the film-makers refrain from any heavy-handed commentary or moralizing, even when things get pretty grim with the burning of the Fantoft stave church. Instead, they present a montage of newscasts covering the events, effectively showing the sensational controversy that surrounded the scene without adding to it.

Unfortunately, the film-makers are not very good at film-making. It's not entirely their fault, most contemporary films and documentaries are like this -- fragmented, with far too many cuts, reducing the interviews to disconnected sound-bites and damaging the narrative flow. For example, the film seems to either omit or gloss over the fact that both Euronymous and Count Grishnakh were in fact members of Mayhem. Rather, the film merely describes Euronymous as a record store owner, then cuts to some description of Mayhem, then cuts to the feud with the Count. If you don't know the connection, this may seem more jarring than it is.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars DOOM!
Wow. Black metal is some serious business. I don't exactly care for the music but these guys are for real. The Mayhem and Burzum stories are insane! Read more
Published 8 days ago by ldanjr407
3.0 out of 5 stars Middle of ground documentary. On death metal
First full discourse I am Christian and some of my people come from Germanic roots Germany and Denmark. I think these people second rate nazis, who hate Jews and Christians. Read more
Published 16 days ago by Dylan McNamara
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent interviews
If you are (were) not 'into' black metal, or know nothing about it, this movie will vaguely give you some idea of what it's about. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Rusty Shackleford
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptionally Well Done Documentary
You do not have to be a die hard Doom Metal fan to be enthralled by this amazing documentary. Interviews and commentary are insightful, intelligent, and relevant. Read more
Published 4 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Black metal
This is the best Black Metal documentary out there! If you are interested in this genre of music, this is a must watch!
Published 5 months ago by Trent Schara
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive documentary
This is not just a fantastic metal documentary, its a captivating look into the Norwegian culture. You can see the thin line between genius and madman in Varg's idealism. Read more
Published 7 months ago by bncsparks
5.0 out of 5 stars fascinating look at a very weird subculture with distinctive music
I am not a black metal-type person whatsoever but found this documentary fascinating and arresting. Not for younger kids; there is some really dark stuff presented here.
Published 7 months ago by Carol
1.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre Documentary
I am a fan of Metal music and i was really looking forward to seeing this documentary and now that i've finished watching it i feel that it was a waste of my time and the reason is... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Edward Rivera
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly soothing
For some reason, I find this movie has a calming effect on me. It's partly the introverted introspection that marks most of the guys who are interviewed here, and it's also partly... Read more
Published 9 months ago by E
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional
I'm not going into this much; I loved this movie!!!! It covers everything that has to do with Black Metal!!! Read more
Published 9 months ago by Metal667
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