a-ha: The Movie had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this weekend. The first review (4 out of 5 stars) has been posted on the website Josh at the Movies:
“The fact that I instantly opened my Spotify and downloaded most of A-Ha’s discography as soon as A-Ha: The Movie ended should speak volumes about its overall quality”, Josh Batchelder writes in his review.
“Following their dream from struggling below the poverty line, A-Ha: The Movie is an endearing story of realizing your dreams and believing in them. The documentary feels deep-reaching, a truly honest portrayal of personalities and musical insight. (…) I look forward to exploring more of A-Ha’s incredible body of work, as the ripples of their impact on the music industry can still be felt today.”
Morten himself has been interviewed by Salon.com in connection with the premiere. When asked about his own favorite a-ha songs, he says:
“There could be many. I don’t have a favorite song. I can lean to one song for a period, then to another. But all the songs we’ve done, we’ve had some sort of soft spot for at some point in time, or they wouldn’t be there. And there are a lot of songs in the making that have never gotten through to the point of being recorded and released. There are some cornerstones. On “Memorial Beach” there is a song that most people don’t know, “Cold as Stone,” which I like. A lot of others that are more the darker side of the band. A-ha is a dark band, really. That is where we are coming from. None of us listened to pop music growing up. We would not have listened to A-ha ourselves if we were on the street, because of the image of the band. Because of a number of things. Because of me, for one. [Laughs]”
In the interview, Morten points out how the band in many ways has been more successful since the 2000 comeback than in the first period:
“I feel the documentary fails us a little in the second half, which [chronicles] when we got back together through to today. That is the longest period that we’ve been together, I believe. And it’s our time when we’ve done our best business and touring. We played to many more people in the second half than in the first, and success-wise, that’s a bigger achievement than making it in the first place, I would argue.”
Early reports about the film also suggests that it spends quite some time on the often-reported creative frictions within the band:
“What I do feel is that the focus in the second half of the film is the disagreements and problems. But one has to bear in mind that we’ve been together for all this time and we’ve chosen to get together and get back together over and over again. We have a deep respect for each other and I’m always proud and honored to be associated with them. And we all feel the same. But we are not the same, and that is part of the package. All three of us are completely necessary for the band to become A-ha”, Morten says.
Director Thomas Robsahm has also done several interviews to promote the film recently, including conversations with Cineuropa and Screen Daily, while a video clip from the film, detailing the evolution of “Take On Me”, was published by Rolling Stone.
Next month a-ha: The Movie will be screened in Germany, as part of the Munich International Film Festival on 8 and 9 July. Information in English is available here.