Glosoli video

The video for Glosoli by Sigur Ros can be streamed or downloaded in a variety of formats from the official website here.

Alternatively you can download the whole video direct from here.

Music videos (other than full-length DVD’s seem to be reviewed rather rarely). One website devoted to such reviews is here but the reviews are very brief, and often seem to be aimed at a very specialised audience of readers who are already very familiar with music videos.

To be successful it is important that a review has a clear sense of audience and purpose, and fits the format of the publication concerned. To gain practice in review writing, making use of some of the technical vocabulary you have been learning, I would like you to write a review of the Glosoli video for readers of this blog, and add it in the comments section. You should aim to write between 250 and 500 words to analyse the video, review its content and meaning, and comment on your view of its effectiveness (or otherwise).

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22 Responses to Glosoli video

  1. mark says:

    Glosoli vidoe review
    The video is about children with one boy as there leader and they all follow him with more and more people joining him on his journey and rite a the end of the journey all the children run off the edge of a cliff and fly except one boy who seems reluctant to jump so it seems that he falls but we never really get a full idea of him falling. At first when you see other people than the boy it feels that the video is set in the time of the Romans as the clothes that are worn are very old fashioned they also seem to live in houses built into the ground but later on in the video we see boys putting oil or fuel onto a car to set it on fire and the children walk over a road so I think that it is set in north Europe. I think the purpose of the video is to tell the story of Jesus with the leader boy as Jesus and all the other children as his followers and when they are running off the cliff that is him taking them to the better place heaven except the one boy who seems to fall I think that he symbolizes Judas so he is optimistic about going to heaven so he just falls. In my opinion it could be him falling to heaven as he betrayed Jesus so is not allowed to go to heaven. I don’t really think that if indeed it is the story of Jesus it comes across effective because it seems old fashioned to us but to ahead to be in Jesus times. I doesn’t really think that it has an specific audience as it made me feel sleepy so it could be used to help people sleep and people of all ages may enjoy to listen or watch it.

  2. Mr Heald says:

    Thanks, Mark. I’m very pleased with you posting this but disappointed that noone else has completed their homework. Since I have to write your reports and parents evening is coming up soon, I think it would be a good idea for your colleagues to pull their finger out 😉

    I really don’t think that I buy this idea of the film as an allegory of Jesus’ mission. I think it would be reasonable to say that aspects of the narrative (a ‘leader’ gathering followers together and performing a miraculous and supernatural act) call to mind some aspects of Christian imagery. Why would the little boy symbolise Judas? Is there any evidence of betrayal? What about the fact that Judas kills himself before Jesus dies? Don’t get me wrong: I’m not putting you down here, but I do want to challenge and refine the interpretations people come up with to show how your analytical and interpretative skills can be improved. The key is to ensure that all your ideas can be supported by evidence, and that your interpretations account for as much of the text as possible. For example you mention the costume and aspects of mise-en-scene, which is great, but what do you think about the significance of these things? Moreover, the skills I’m trying to get you to develop here include using appropriate technical vocabulary, which is why I gave you the film-language handout and have been concentrating on specific techniques in class. Those of you following on need to make sure you try and work in the terms and concepts we have been studying. While I’m in ‘marking’ mode, it might be worth noting that even though it’s often acceptable in online communication to be rather ‘loose’ in terms of sentence structure, spelling and punctuation, given that this blog is focussed on improving your GCSE skills, I’d like to see as much care as possible taken over these details. I often make typing errors and so on myself so I will cut you some slack, but do try your best.

  3. Jen says:

    I feel that the Glosoli video could portray a number of different meanings concerning the plot and the “Judas” figure. However, I also feel that there is a large amount of significance concerning the mise-en-scene. The fact that the characters are wearing insulating fur lined garments suggests that the environment is cold and hostile. Also, the lighting is important in showing this. For example, at the beginning of the video the lighting is dull and grey; even for the Icelandic setting. This “coldness” I feel represents doubt and uncertainty which is also depicted on the childrens’ faces. When the children seem to fall asleep, the lighting changes to a warmer and more temperate yellow which could show happiness and pleasure – any emotions connected with warm colours.

    Eventhough I feel that looking at the lyrics in English could spoil my own inrerpretation of the video clip, I was curious to find out what they meant, and when doing so came across the song called “Glowing Sun”. I felt that this did fit into the video quite well because of these colour changes. Possibly the children begin to fly to the Sun, not heaven.

  4. Billy says:

    im not sure what to make of this video, as, like mark said, some aspects of the story line represent the story of jesus, but others seem to have come purely from the directors imagination. although, the idea that seems most likley to me is that the smallest boy is just imagining the other children. when all the children are running up the hill towords the edge of the cliff, and the boy who seems to be in the lead drops his drum, the small boy turns back at gazes at it, but almost as if he is just imagining it. i think when all the children jump off the cliff it is just the smaller boy imagining it, that is when the smallest boy hesitates before he jumps, because he is scared. when he does jump he appears to smile, but as he realises he is falling his smile transforms into a look of horror. this suggests to me that he is falling and he realises that all the other children were just a figmant of his imagination.

  5. Lauren says:

    This video is to promote the song that is accompanying the action shown on the screen. The song is all about a journey children take, “Go on a journey, and roam the streets”. This is one of the lines of the verses in the song I am talking about. There is one boy in the beginning of the video; he is on his own looking out to a lake. He has a drum in his hands and starts tapping his feet to the rhythm of the music when it begins. On the screen you then see him in a close up; you do not see his face but his hands playing about with the drumstick he is holding. It then goes back to a long shot taken from the same position as the first one in the video.
    When the singing starts the boy gets up and walks into the rocks gathering people from around him. The first other person we see in this video is a girl with a fox mask on. She is also with another girl, a younger one and when these two see the boy they follow him. All three of them carry on walking and come to what looks to be a village. There are many other people that join this tribe throughout the video. When the boy has gathered all the people he can, they end up walking over streams, rivers, roads and rocks. They all lie down on the rocks and fall asleep. The screen then goes black. This is where the video changes and looks like it is a dream. It changes colour and scenery. The colour turns more yellowy. The first thing you see in this change of scene is the children walking along the cliff side.
    They then stop and the music carries on. When the drumming starts getting louder, the little boy starts banging his. Everyone that is stood behind the boy looks very scared and anxious about something. The drumming stops and all the children start running up the cliff edge. When they come to the end they jump. Instead of falling off the edge they fly. There is one little boy that is last to jump off the cliff, when he is running up the cliff he stops and looks at the drum rolling down. This could symbolise an outcast among the group.
    The title of the song translated is “Glowing sun.” This is said as the last line in the song. When the video changes its colour, it turns to look more like the sun is shining than what it was in the first place which is gloomy and dark. The song name could be the reason this happens, to symbolise the sun shining and showing people there is life after all.
    “I awake from a nightmare, my heart is beating.” This is another line from the song translated. When they go to sleep it could be meaning to show that this is a dream and when they fly off the cliff this could be a dream. Or a nightmare as the line from the song says. These lyrics are all about dreaming and sleeping. Also about being happy and following the person that is there to follow. When they are flying all the children look happy and seem to be in a happy atmosphere with the waves crashing from below them. With the white water and blue sky. In the beginning the boy could think that he is going to heaven and knows he is going there. Because in the end they may fly up to heaven, we do not actually know where they go after jumping off the cliff.
    This video could show anything and until we meet with the people that came up with the ideas for it, we will never know what it is meant to show and how the song is meant to come across.

    I wrote this out put you didnt take it in so i thought i would copy and paste it!

  6. Tom says:

    In the first few establishing shots we see various extreme close ups of different parts of the boy’s face and hands. When we see the boy’s golden hair curling from his declined face, it suggests to me that he is entranced in deep thought and as if he is faced with a difficult decision.
    My observation is also supported when a straight cut directs the camera towards the boy’s hand and drum stick. The drum stick is in central view and also in fine focus so I believe it could be an important prop in the film. The boy lets go of the stick as if he is fiddling with it which leads me to think that he may be struggling with indecision. The next two shots, linked by straight cuts, are scenes of the boy’s head and drum stick still be fiddled about by the boy’s fingers. This may also show the thinking that the boy is undergoing as even though only the boy’s head is in focus the stick is still shown moving in the background, out of focus. Ros obviously wants us to see the stick but because it is out of focus I think it might not necessarily be what the boy is thinking about.
    I feel that the mise en scène may deliberately set out to fool and confuse us. At first the drummer boy uniform that the boy wears makes us think that this film is set in olden times and not possibly in the modern day. When the girl with the fox mask appears over the brick wall, my theory is strengthened as it is not the typical clothing used in present day. Though later on in the film we find children with more modern props like a car, a carton of fuel and a flare. This confuses us because we have already established that the period this film takes place in is not the modern day. Also after the shot containing the vehicle, we see the children cross a tarmac road which confounds us further.
    I think that Ros did this because he wanted his music video to be unusual and unpredictable. It keeps the viewer curious and interested in what might happen next and this is a good way to promote the music that he is trying to sell as the video and the strange mise en scène is memorable and sets it apart from other music videos alike.

  7. Mr Heald says:

    Jen: good stuff on the relation of lighting and colour to mood and tone. I still don’t know how Judas suddenly entered this discussion. Nobody has provided a shred of evidence to support a directly biblical interpretation.

    Billy: interesting idea about the little kid imagining the others. However, if the director wanted us to suppose that, would he not have presented the narrative from the perspective of the little boy rather than the drummer boy? After all, we see a lot of action before the liitle kid even appears. However, given that he is asleep when the others get to him, I suppose it is plausible to imagine that they are somehow a part of his dream.

    Lauren: thanks for your contribution: the reason I didn’t take it in when you printed off was specifically because I asked for it to be posted here. Why would I want loads of bits of dead tree floating around the place when we have this much more efficient and interactive medium available?! I’m interested in the way you have used the lyrics to inform your interpretation: I’d never thought of looking them up before. It seems clear that the words have been a source of inspiration for the director in some ways, but that he has chosen not to illustrate them directly or literally. Your reading of the video has some very perceptive points, so I don’t think you should be as dismissive as youa re at the end. You say “the video coulod show anything”, well, no it couldn’t, and we surely don’t need to meet the director to interpret his work: you have proved that by coming up with your own intepretation informed by close viewing, influenced by the lyrics.

    Tom: good to see some accurate use of film language terminology in your response, used effectively to support interpretation. Just a minor point of information though: Sigur Ros is the name of a band, not a person, and in any case it’s almost unheard of for a band/musician to be directly responsible for creating their own music video. I was impressed to see you get the grave accent on mise-en-scene. How do you do that?

    That’s 5 done: still only about 1/6 of the class.

  8. Joe Martin says:

    Glosoli video
    I think the video is showing the life of a child, as they meet new people and about growing up. In the opening scene the boy is by himself then he meets new friends. As when they put petrol on the car and seem to set it on fire this shows signs of growing up and doing bad things, as they are getting older. Then when they go to sleep it shows that every child needs their rest when they are growing up. Then when they jump of the cliff this shows them finishing there education and becoming an adult. I think the boy with the drum is a leader and is even like a teacher. I don’t think has a specific audience, as it doesn’t show any signs of having one.
    There is a lot of close up shots of the children’s faces and movement to show facial expressions and there body language. The film changes views and scenes by having straight cuts. At the end the film finishes by having a close up of the children’s faces. Also at the end you are left wondering if the smallest child flies like all the other children or falls to his death. I think the film has many meanings and is set in another country as from the landscape in the opening scene and the scenes throughout the film.

  9. karly says:

    I think that the video is showimg a group of young people who are exploring life. The video, I feel, shows a path of life, and the journey which the children take. The video shows one path the group are following but is interpreted in many ways. Some people see it as one which follows religion, some which think it follows life’s journey, and others that think it follows the explorations of childhood. Personally, I think it shows all parts of life, the parts of childhood and adulthood. It shows the rises and falls, and decisions which have to be made throughout life. An example of this is where at the end of the video the children jump off of a cliff, and all of them apart from one fly and go off into the distance, the one child who does not fly falls into the sea below. I think this shows decisions which are made in life and this is one which can totally change it depending on that one choice.

  10. Jen says:

    I don’t believe that there is any evidence to support that the smallest boy is supposed to be Judas. I do however agree with Tom’s interpretation because most of the video is unpredictable – like the girl with the fox’s mask, the roads and car and also when the children begin to fly at the end.
    I feel that by providing us with the idea of unpredictability, the director and script writers make us think more deeply about what has just been seen and what is about to be seen.

  11. manu says:

    to be perfectly honest, im VERY unsure about this video i find very hard to interpret, its an odd kind of movie, or maybe its just me…:S:S but i think tht everyone has made some interesting points…

  12. Philippa says:

    Once again, i agree with emmanuel, this video just completely confuses me! As some others have said, some parts of the video could possibly suggest some parts of Christ’s life, such as the further the boy walks on, the more people join him, even those who seem to be pouring petrol over a car could represent sinners who end up following Jesus.
    Other than that, I am COMPLETELY confused by this video!!

  13. Samson says:

    The word Glosoli could only mean one thing; a fantasy driven, incessant music video. I believe that the music video is over imaginative and this used defectively and makes the film as dull as a 1920’s copper tea service.
    Throughout the film my observations showed me that the director has thought of costumes that represents the styling of an older period of time; the use of a drummer boy or military form of clothing represents this. This however is a solid contradiction to the video, as later in the film a more modern day approach was taken as items such as the car, petrol canister and motif trainers. This I believe only contributes to confusing the audience of the film.
    The effectiveness of the film is quite disappointing I feel. However I do feel that the editing used, such as different methods of fading and straight cut can prove to be advantageous to the different shots; for example when there is a shot of a group of children building a brick wall, the shot is positioned in such a way that the frame shows the children all in centre shot. My interpretation here brings the focus onto the children and with the shot being long shots, the director here to my opinion wanted to show friendship between the children and show that they are working in unity. This is one of the few advantages of the use of editing throughout the film.
    Another point about the film is that underneath the ‘razzle – dazzle’ of film making, some form of conclusion or should I say response needs to be drawn. This is more difficult as some director I feel has throw in as many of the techniques of editing and mise – en –scene causing the audience to have to plow through mounds of rubble containing little essence or respect concerning the audiences wanting of explanation.
    I feel that this video even though it did not particularly appeal to me could be enjoyed by the likes of other people. My analysis of the film has made me conclude that when actually making a video for music or just film making in general, that much thought has to be used to achieve what the director wants to. Though some videos don’t achieve this; I believe the minority which do not can be used in order to provide a guide to where director’s ore film makers need to hit the mark.
    If had to recommend this video I would say give it a go: (marmites not everybody’s cup of tea).

  14. Cassandra says:

    I think that the glosoli music video is very confusing. I think this because at times i can pick out a meaning with clear evidence, but then there is other evidence from the video to suggest that this meaning is wrong.
    I think that the colour change halfway through Glosoli suggests that the children are closer to freedom. This also coincides with the lyrics, ‘Glowing Sun’ at this part in the video.

  15. Catherine F says:

    I found the glosoli video interesting however thought that the intended meaning was unclear.

    As a group, a religious link was made to the film, although we do go to a catholic school so this should be expected.

    I think that the video may be representing “the journey of life” and the fact that through out the film, the drummer boy collects followers;companions, is symbolic of how we go through life and gain friends and fall in love, hopefully, as does, or so they appear to, two of the children in the film.

    Catherine F

  16. manu says:

    glosoli confuses me totaly :S:S

  17. Roachyq says:

    Glosoli is very hard to depict because the video has a constant tune in the background, therefore the music doesn’t signify the video, rather the video signifies the music. Because of this backwards relation as opposed to typical cinema films a viewer gets the grasp of the film by using the music as a base for the mood of a piece. This can only be partially achieved with Glosoli because the video is for the music. Apart from a few fairly considerable changes in the music such as when the yellow filter begins after the fade then straight cut [towards the end of the video] the music alters rapidly, therefore the mood of the video does.

  18. Emma-Louise says:

    Here’s my review:

    In my opinion this music video is quite good in terms of musical and visual interaction. I found the sounds relaxing and soothing, and combining this with the images of children walking. One drummer boy leads the children on a journey on the beaches, along rock pools and through fields. These remind myself of innocence and purity. Of being in a world where anything could happen. The music video sends you into an almost meditative state, with the mellow sounds and beautiful imagery.

    However I would not recommend this song to people who enjoy fast beats and racing pulses. And I must say, it took me more then one time of watching it to actually figure out what was going on. First time through it just seemed like a random assortment of clips. But when I watched it properly I had my own thoughts on what it could be about. In the beginning there is a zoom in of a girl in a hat which was made of a bears head. It suddenly struck me that there were no grown ups around and that the children were all doing bad things that their parents wouldn’t let them do. I concluded that it could be about how innocent children were stuck in a world that they now had to survive in with no help. As the little drummer boy walks around discovering more children they all follow him and near the end they all fly off of a cliff. So this could symbolise that they don’t have to abide by the laws of this world.

    All in all I enjoyed this music video and would suggest it to anyone looking for a way of cooling down after a hard day.

  19. Lizzie Frain says:

    I’ve never seen a video like the Glosoli video before. I enjoyed the Unrealism and how it was unpredictable.

    I think you could say that this video does have many meanings. However, I do believe that the important thing is how you portray the video instead of the actual meaning.
    To an extent i agree with Roach, when he says that the video is very hard to depict with the tune in the background. Never the less, i can see past that and to me the video means a great deal.

    I think it shows the journey that we under go in our lives to become the people we want to become. Such as in our careers etc. I agree with Catherine and how she says it’s about “the journey of life”.

  20. David says:

    My first impression of this is that it is incredibly weird and would not have sold many copies, even though I like the music because it is quite calming. By weird I mean that it is not an every day thing to see a group of children, being lead by a boy who calls them with a drum, jump off a cliff and start flying.
    For all we know there could be some meaning entwined within the inaudiable words of the song but to our perception we hear nothing so the video seems to have nothing to do with the band it promotes. There seems to be no way in which I can assess this as it is impossible to understand the words and you could think up thousands of inturpretations for the images but this could apply to any piece of cinema or film. This piece of film is an extremely eccentric piece and no clear plot is made available to us and we have to use our own experience and ideas to make sense of it. The only thing I could pick up on is that it seems the video was not made for the music, but the music for the film…

  21. Catherine Mc says:

    Before I review the Glosoli video, which we have been instructed to produce with the ‘aid’ of technology, I feel I must address your comment to Lauren Fenwick. You obviously devoutly support the ever-increasing dependence on the computer and dismiss the idea of ‘loads of bits of dead tree floating around the place.’ Whilst agreeing with this second argument, I advise you to consider the amount of electricity wasted, as well as the money lost by those not lucky enough to possess ‘Broadband,’ during their time spent on the internet.

    Glosoli review
    It is easy to forget when watching this video that it is actually a promotional piece for a song release by Sigur Ros because firstly it is presented as a story in film format, which explains the wide lens. However I think that the incomprehensible lyrics of the song may possibly lead to the dismissal of the music, especially as it is nondiegetic to the video. Since this surely the most important part of the video, it would seem that it is ineffective in its purpose, which leads to a level of confusion about this example of media and its significance.
    Certainly the Sigur Ros video tells us a story and like in any other narrative, our attention is directed to the protagonist, although in this circumstance, it is done with the help of his central camera position and the otherwise relatively static screen. The following sequence of close-ups linked simply with a series of straight cuts present an element of mystery as we are shown very little of the character. For example the first close up of the boy’s face is mostly blurred and the majority of his features of blocked by his hair.
    However, the boy’s significance is suggested as he moves his head slightly to view his setting, the coastline and ocean beyond, as if he were preparing himself for important event, which is emphasised as he fiddles with the drumstick.
    The later low angle and long shots support the idea that he is on a mission of some sort, and the boy is made to appear small within his harsh environment. However we are only provided with this small clarification as the boy and his ever increasing collection of companions face this hostile setting, complete with smoking rock, to give an impression of the supernatural to this mysterious plot.
    Having said this, the later change from dark to light, provides a change in mood, suggesting that the children have conquered whatever caused their struggle earlier in the story. This is enhanced by the change to a kinder setting and the final event where the group even conquer their human limitations and manage to fly.
    This commonly-used film maker’s feel-good message that ‘you can achieve anything,’ led many in the class to suggest that the video had a biblical significance. On the contrary, the evidence in the video suggests otherwise. Firstly the kiss form Judas to Jesus, which acted as a death sentence for Jesus, the ultimate betrayal, surely could not be represented in this video by an innocent kiss of two children, which was accompanied by a loving smile by the pair. Also it cannot be ignored that the character thought to portray Jesus is dressed in a military costume, which obviously does not add up. This conclusion, as you, Mr Heald, interestingly pointed out, may not have been drawn if it were not for our religious upbringing and attitudes.

  22. Mr Heald says:

    Catherine – point taken about Broadband access etc. My comment to Lauren was perhaps a little flippant, and intended to draw attention to the fact that I’d asked for the contribution to be posted here rather than handed in on paper (so as to allow the kind of interaction that has occurred, and which is impossible to produce any other way). I am aware that not everyone has equal access or technical proficiency online. That is why I have always ensured that on the rare occasions that I have explicitly asked that everyone contribute, I have not expected it to be done immediately, thereby allowing time for it to be done either using school facilities, or local libraries, all of which have free internet access. Also, if you have a dial-up connection, don’t forget that you can compose any contribution you wish to make while offline, then simply copy and paste it when you log-on.

    Whenever anyone tries something relatively new (and let’s face it, we are actually a long way behind many others in using IT in mainstream education)there is bound to be some difficulty and resistance, but I think the potential benefits are worth it both in terms of preparing you for a wider world where IT literacy is increasingly expected, but also in terms of sharpening critical faculties that are directly applicable to GCSE English, even though you will be tested primarily with good old pen and paper.

    As for your comments on the video, there are some very perceptive observations. In particular, few others have started from the key contextual point that this is in the first instance a music promo video.

    You write: “I think that the incomprehensible lyrics of the song may possibly lead to the dismissal of the music, especially as it is nondiegetic to the video. Since this surely the most important part of the video, it would seem that it is ineffective in its purpose, which leads to a level of confusion about this example of media and its significance.”

    However, others in the group have made some observations that suggest that there may be a connection between the lyrical content of the song, and the visual/narrative content of the video. Even if this were not the case, there is by now a strong tradition of promo videos in which the relationship between the song/artist and content of the video is not particularly strong in the sense that the video may not actually show the singer or band, or relate directly to the song, but instead may be intended to reflect the mood of the music in some way, or simply to provide a visually compelling work that enhances the reputation of the musical artist through association with a video that may come to be regarded as ‘cool’ or ‘clever’ or whatever (or vice-versa). Indeed the producers of the Glosoli video (Arni & Kinski) already had a well-established reputation ion the fields of film-making, music video & advertising before making this video, which won the best rock music video award at CADS06 – the major British awards for work in this field. There was an article in this Saturday’s Guardian about directors who made their names making music videos in this vein and have gone on to success as Hollywood film directors (,,2013764,00.html)

    I think your observations on the relationship between film language and your interpretation of meaning show real analytical and interpretative skill (an A/A* charactersitic at GCSE, by the way, if sustained, and I am impressed with the way you managed to support your rebuttal of a specifically Christian allegorical interpretation with specific evidence that you then interpret in your own way.

    But what about the military costume element? And the other costumes, too? Several people have mentioned costume, but other than fairly vague references to their ‘old-fashioned’ nature, no-one seems to have been prepared to commit to an interpretation of the significance of the appearance of the children.

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