The 24-minute film directed by Academy Award-nominated Mike Mills ( 20th Century Women, Beginners ) and starring Academy Award Winner Alicia Vikander ( The Danish Girl, Ex-Machina) featuring new music by The National is now available to watch below. The film was inspired by the band’s forthcoming album of the same name which will be released this Friday, May 17th on 4AD.
“I Am Easy To Find” was recently screened during five intimate sold-out shows in Paris, New York, London, Toronto and Los Angeles followed by a Q+A with Mike Mills and members of The National. The Julien Baker hosted New York Q+A is available to view here. In addition, film commentary by both Mills ( here ) and The National frontman Matt Berninger and his wife and co-lyricist Carin Besser ( here ) have also been released.
On September 3, 2017, director Mike Mills emailed Matt Berninger to introduce himself and in very short order, the most ambitious project of the National’s nearly 20-year career was born and plans for a hard-earned vacation died. The Los Angeles-based filmmaker was coming off his third feature, 20th Century Women, and was interested in working with the band on…something. A video maybe. Berninger, already a fan of Mills’ films, not only agreed to collaborate, he essentially handed over the keys to the band’s creative process.
The two projects are, as Mills calls them, “Playfully hostile siblings that love to steal from each other”—they share music and words and DNA and impulses and a vision about what it means to be human in 2019, but don’t necessarily need one another.
The result is I Am Easy to Find, a 24-minute film by Mills starring Alicia Vikander, and I Am Easy to Find, a 68-minute album by the National.
Watch ‘I Am Easy to Find’ – BELOW:
“The National gave me the stems for their songs, some were sketches some were finished and encouraged and allowed me to create my own versions of the songs to score the film. The album then features different versions of these same 7 songs – and 9 new songs which sometimes refer to the themes, texts, ideas from the film – but are their own work, their own piece of art,” says Mills.
The former is not the video for the latter; the latter is not the soundtrack to the former. The movie was composed like a piece of music; the music was assembled like a film, by a film director. The frontman and natural focal point was deliberately and dramatically sidestaged in favor of a variety of female voices, nearly all of whom have long been in the group’s orbit. It is unlike anything either artist has ever attempted and also totally in line with how they’ve created for much of their careers. The film, shot all on location near Pomona, CA, took only 5 days to shoot, but is comprised of 164 scenes. The production design is sparse and minimal, consisting only of one chair, a bed, rug, and couch used over and over in the film. Beautifully shot by Daniel Voldheim and edited for about 8 months by Aaron Beckum.
The National on Tour: