The Union Forever | A Skin, A Night

Back in April of 2006, the director of La Blogoteque’s Take Away Shows, Vincent Moon, announced that he was working on a documentary about The National, recording what would become 2007’s year-end list-topping album, Boxer. Well, now there is a trailer and more video clips to come.

A Skin, A Night Trailer
Uploaded by The_National

Trailer – A Skin, A Night [Daily Motion]

It’s always nice when a director gambles on a making-of-the-album documentary and the album becomes a classic, like Sam Jones’ I Am Trying to Break Your Heart (2002) did with Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. But according to Moon’s MySpace blog, he didn’t intend to record a typical making of documentary.

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ideas are not to do something like a ‘making of’ the album, but much more to investigate some questions about: what is rock music today, what is the mythology stuck to it, how to film rock and why using video is changing the idea of cinema

But that was back in 2006 when he apparently had no money to make the film yet and was pursuing investors, so maybe his lofty goals were interrupted by the evils of financing, or according to the trailer, by the creative process itself. Regardless of what the film is or is not, Moon has never compromised his vision of video as a documenting power that is the most real and immediate medium available. The fact that he publishes online is even more compelling, but because this documentary is available for pre-order as a DVD, it seems as a step back from the autonomy of filmed music on the Internet. It should be available online like the “Take Away Shows.”

The National – Start a War (Take Away Show) [Daily Motion]

Did he feel that the Internet was not a grand enough stage for his documentary? I doubt it, but it’s too bad this couldn’t be available as a special streaming event — like the Radiohead concerts on New Year’s Eve — or be set up online for unlimited play on demand. I could see everyone tuning in online for a screening like an online movie theater, couldn’t you? I have ideas and no means though, so I just write. Maybe it boils down to finance and in that case we shall take what we can get. The world is void of good music documentaries (there are exceptions), and this idea seems particularly interesting.

As for the content, I have enjoyed The National as a recording band and their live show was unexpectedly high-paced and crazed when I saw them in Madison over the summer. But I feel as though we are only given a glimpse into the emotional capability of the band. They don’t hold back emotionally, but if “A Skin, A Night” can expand upon the sense of place Moon created in their collaborations on the “Take Away Show,” then we can expect an excellently paced film that matches up with the rhythm of, as Moon describes them, “the greatest American rock band.” Are they? See for yourself through Moon’s eyes.

The National – Ada (Take Away Show) [Daily Motion]

The DVD will be released May 20th along with an EP entitled The Virginia EP. Full track listing below.

1. You’ve Done It Again, Virginia
2. Santa Clara
3. Blank Slate
4. Tall Saint (demo)
5. Without Permission
6. Forever After Days (demo)
7. Rest of Years (demo)
8. Slow Show (demo)
9. Lucky You (Daytrotter Session)
10. Mansion on the Hill (live)
11. Fake Empire (live)
12. About Today (live)