Where Was It Shot: Bon Iver "Holocene" - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Where Was It Shot: Bon Iver “Holocene”

Where Was It Shot: Bon Iver “Holocene”

Published July 14, 2017

Photos by
Still from Holocene

Let’s take a break from second-rate films to explore the world of music videos. This time it’s king of indie-folk Bon Iver.

Where better for the haunting melody of the critically acclaimed “Holocene” than Iceland’s dramatic south coast? Released in 2011, the song takes its name from the geographical era during which glaciers began to retreat, some 12,000 years ago. For Justin Vernon of Bon Iver, the name has alternative meaning as he sought inspiration from darker times. The video represents life’s insignificance, dramatically contrasted by Iceland’s limitless backdrop. In signature knits, a young Icelandic boy explores his surrounds near Vik on the south cost. Childish curiosity leads him to black sand beaches, lava fields and plush moss.

“Strayed above the highway aisle, jagged valance thick with ice and I could see for miles, miles miles.” The lyrics are designed to resonate with those who have questioned meaning and their place on the earth. In homage to the majesty of the landscape, the video previewed on the National Geographic Channel and has since clocked 32 million views on Youtube.

At the video’s climax, innocence prevails as the child skims stones at Jökulsárlón, before tumbling down a hill. Exploration takes its toll. Lying down on the beach, black sand dusts his face as he sleeps. “At once I knew, I was not magnificent.” Deep.

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