In 2001, Björk wore The Swan Dress. The Icelandic musician and actress was attending the 73rd annual Academy Awards as a nominee and performer, as “I’ve Seen It All” -- her musical contribution to Lars Von Trier’s Dancer within the Dark, the movie during which she additionally starred -- was a contender for finest unique tune that 12 months.
By then, Björk, born Björk Guðmundsdóttir, had established herself as an enigmatic pop star with a aptitude for the eccentric unbound by language limitations or style. The Iceland native's first hit got here with "Birthday," the 1987 single together with her avant-pop band, The Sugarcubes. She technically launched her solo profession as an 11-year-old in 1977 together with her self-titled album of a people ilk, however revived it post-Sugarcubes in 1993 with Debut, which re-introduced her as a thinker, maker and singer who made digital music her mental playground.
The Swan Dress wasn’t solely misplaced, given her penchant for artistic self-expression in music and visible artwork main as much as Dancer within the Dark, and it would go on to turn into one in all her most recognizable totems, in addition to the look she wore on the quilt of one in all her most critically adored albums, 2001’s Vespertine. Her deserved accolades and a focus on the Oscars felt ripe with the potential enlargement into different mediums as her star ascended.
That didn’t occur. Björk’s performing profession ended with Dancer within the Dark, nevertheless it didn’t start there, a reality typically overshadowed by The Swan Dress and all it signifies. Long earlier than the Oscars, and even earlier than “Birthday,” there was The Juniper Tree.
In 1986, Björk spent the summer season filming a black-and-white interpretation of a Brothers Grimm fairy story directed by Nietzchka Keene that ultimately premiered on the 1990 Sundance Film Festival. The Juniper Tree is a showpiece for Iceland and Björk as she navigates the island's jagged basalt cliffs, cascading waterfalls and sprawling landscapes dotted with sprinting horses with higher bangs than Brigitte Bardot. Björk's character, Margit, is the daughter of an accused witch and little sister to Katla -- who shacked up with a widower, Jóhann, and his suspicious, tow-headed son, Jónas -- after their mom was stoned to dying.
Of the 5 characters we meet in The Juniper Tree, Margit and the ghost of her mom are the 2 calm, variety faces in a story peppered with abuse, cannibalism (!), homicide and grief. In this unique clip, Margit brings Jónas to fulfill her mom, not realizing that she's the one one who can see the ghostly imaginative and prescient. She sings to him, and the scene feels prescient and acquainted, in that Björk's expertise is so hypnotizing that the road is blurred between fairy story and reality for a quick second onscreen.
The new restoration of the movie was helmed by the Wisconsin Center for Film & Theater Research and The Film Foundation, with funding offered by the George Lucas Family Foundation.
Catch The Juniper Tree at New York's Metrograph beginning Friday (March 15) earlier than it expands to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Austin, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Nashville and different choose cities, and watch Björk sing on this scene from The Juniper Tree beneath.