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A Skin, A Night & The Virginia EP


3.8 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

This is a documentary about The National by French filmmaker Vincent Moon, who followed the group during the creation of their acclaimed 2007 release, "Boxer." It's an insightful and beautiful glimpse into the band's creative process. The DVD is packaged with a separate disc, "The Virginia EP", which contains twelve tracks of demos, a cover, live versions, a radio session, and b-sides. Look for them on tour with REM and Modest Mouse in May. Coachella confirmed.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: The National
  • Directors: Vincent Moon
  • Format: Multiple Formats, EP, PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Beggars Banquet
  • DVD Release Date: May 20, 2008
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0016MJ2TG
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,474 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Marcos F. Hernandez on May 18, 2008
Format: DVD
Vincent Moon's impressionistic take on the making of Boxer is less a documentary about the National than it is an intimate look into the process of making music. Anybody familiar with the techniques Moon uses in his "Concerts A Emporter" series will be glad to see his natural gifts on display here. While Moon's relationship with the band does help us get to know the individuals better, his main purpose is to provide remarkable insights into the relationships these guys have with their songs. Emphasizing the music as the main character, Moon reveals the immensity of experiences that can be found within a few notes magically strung together.

Providing further insight into the creative process, The Virginia EP collects nearly all of the b-sides and demos (a rare extended version of "Brainy" is missing), as well as select live recordings from this fruitful period for the National. Songs like "Santa Clara", "Tall Saint", and "Forever After Days" show that even the tossed-aside material from Boxer is staggering. Meanwhile, the lighthearted "Blank Slate" and "Slow Show" demo illustrate the ways in which the songs change, grow, and find identities of their own. The EP tells a story of creative exploration parallel to "A Skin, A Night" that reveals even more about the band and their journey from studio to stage.

"A Skin, A Night/The Virginia EP" is a perfect companion to the intricately detailed beauty of Boxer that I would highly recommend to any fan of the National.
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Format: DVD
Let me state upfront that I am coming to this, having only the "Alligator" and "Boxer" albums from these guys. I have come to love those albums ("Boxer" was in my "best albums of 2007" list), and when I saw this, I had to just get it.

As to the "A Skin, A Night" DVD (62 min.) (I rate it 3.5 stars), please be aware that this is not a documentary, or a concert DVD, but instead a deeply subjectve FILM by Vincent Moon. It brings mostly behind the scenes looks of the band working on the "Boxer" album, interspersed with comments from the band how they got started and how long a road it has been to finding success (only with the "Alligator" album did they climb out of debt from earlier ventures, comments one of the guys). This being a film, I don't expect I'll be watching this again and again, as you wouldn't most movies. But it stands well on its own, a subjective mood reflection on the National.

As to "The Virginia EP" (12 tracks, 49 min.) (I rate it 4.5 stars), it brings a collection of B-sides, demos and live tracks, and it is fantastic. The initial three tracks are awesome: "You've Done It Again, Virginia", "Santa Clara" and especially "Blank Slate" are all tracks that would've fitted nicely onto "Boxer". The demos are surpisingly well-fleshed out for being demos, and my favorites are "Forever After Days" and "Slow Down". As to the live tracks, "Fake Empire" and "About Today" are fantastic, and I can't help but notice they were recorded at the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels (in November, 2007), where I saw many a show in my early years before moving to the US.

I've had the good fortune to catch these guys live a number of times now (most recently at the Langerado Festival in South Florida in March of this year) and they are electric live.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
If you love The National, you should buy it too...but only for the EP. The DVD is absolutely terrible and a waste of an hour.

Vincent Moon is trying desperately to make The National a legend. It's almost like he's hoping either the lead singer will die early or the band will become really famous eventually, and he can claim dibs on their first documentary. Moon does the right thing in bringing the music to the forefront, but it hurts the interviews, which I could barely hear or understand. Tons of time is wasted on meaningless scenes of NYC or nearly empty rooms. They hyper saturated color is annoying to watch. No one is as dramatic as Moon makes The National out to be. It's absolutely dreadful as a rock doc, a film, and a document of recording one of the great albums of 2007.

Moon should have watched "I Am Trying to Break Your Heart" to learn how to make a movie about making a great album.
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Format: DVD
I am definitely not alone when I say that I'm "into" The National. They are very unique; their music is hard to describe, as is the slow and steady nature of their popularity. It is this mysterious quality about the band that made me so excited about this film. I wanted a look at the people who made the great album that is "Boxer". I wanted a peek into certain things that many fans like myself tend to desire to see: the process of the songwriting and the history and stages of the songs I've come to love, the creative methods and ideas that were utilized during recording, as well as the dynamics of the band-for example, the ratio of creative input amongst its members, or the personal relationships between band members. I thought of finally seeing these things first hand, and I was thrilled, but honestly this film disappointed me.

I do not blame the band in disappointing me with this film. Call me blindly loyal to The National, but the fact of the matter is that they did not create this film - Vincent Moon did. And what about it disappoints me?

I feel that any documentary about a band has a certain responsibility to the fans of the music. Obviously the director has the right to create whatever film he wants to create, but people aren't watching A Skin, A Night because Vincent Moon filmed it. They are watching for the same reason I am watching, and that is to receive the pleasure of learning more about the band and the album that we love. Instead, Moon gives us what I believe to be a somewhat self-indulgent, abstract film that consists of dull "artsy" shots from a gritty camera, sprinkled with enough valuable clips of the band to keep me watching, but that ultimately leave me dissatisfied and simply pissed off.
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