By Mark Traphagen on June 19, 2010
Director Rian Johnson‘s beautifully understated short documentary film The Life of the World to Come is streaming this week only at Pitchfork TV. Set on a bare stage in the auditorium of Pomona College, the film records a performance by John Darnielle of all the tracks of the most recent album of the same title by The Mountain Goats. The performance opens up a more intimate view of this most intimate of Mountain Goats albums. All songs are performed by John solo, accompanying himself on either piano or guitar, (with some vocal help from Mountain Goat alum “Rachel”). Filmed in natural light from a few on-stage lamps and with a single camera (sometimes handheld, sometimes mounted on a circular track), Johnson captures the power and passion that is the songwriting of John Darnielle.
For the uninitiated, all of the tracks on The Life of the World to Come have titles that are references to passages in the Bible. (See my complete review of the album.) This is not a “contemporary Christian” album, though. Instead, Darnielle uses his vast narrative powers to spin contemporary tales of pain, desperation, and yes, faith, with the Bible passages as mythic inspiration.
Watch The Life of the World to Come (video active week of June 18 only)