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Directed by Marco Porsia

United States 2019 121 mins. In English

Michael Gira and his band Swans are one of industrial music’s heaviest and most emotionally shattering groups. Filmmaker Porsia went behind-the-scenes for years to fashion this wide-ranging ode to Swans’ unique brand of unsettling, transcendent music. Formed in the ‘80s post-punk scene and touring extensively with bands like Sonic Youth, Swans made a name particularly for Gira’s high-wire performances, laced with pathos and bursts of violence while squalls of noise cascaded behind him in dingy basements and makeshift venues. Now, Swans retains a great deal of their unpredictability in the middle of their third decade in existence—and remains one of American music’s most vital acts.

Part of the 37th Annual Reel Music Festival.

Genres: Documentary

Appears in: Reel Music 37



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.