Arcade Fire: After the album, now the film

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Fresh from their Grammy and Brit Awards success, Canadian band Arcade Fire presented on Wednesday a 30-minute film they say is "inspired" by their hugely popular album "The Suburbs".

"Scenes from the Suburbs", directed by Spike Jonze ("Being John Malkovich", "Where the Wild Things Are"), is billed as a "companion piece" to the album and focuses on a group of teenagers living in a disturbing suburban dystopia.

"We ended up doing it towards the end of our record," Will Butler, multi-instrumentalist in the band, told reporters at the Berlin film festival in Germany where the movie was being premiered.

"We didn't even have time to do my 30th birthday party but it was kind of the best birthday of all time because we were just so deep into making the film and finishing the record," his elder brother and lead vocalist Win said.

The film has clips of teenagers on bikes interspersed with shots of soldiers apparently rounding up and possibly shooting adults in the town, while the two central characters drift apart for some dark but unseen reason.

But it is hard to figure out what exactly is going on -- and deliberately so, the band says.

"When we were little kids we would watch a lot of kind of cheesy 80s movies that we were too young to be able to be watching and you'd always end up watching just the first half because your parents would come in," Win said.

"And so it's kind of a little bit inspired by just watching the first half of films."

He added: "We were hopefully trying to show some of the emotions and emotional links without necessarily getting deep into the plot.

"We decided to cut some of the explanatory material in the hopes of more emotional and impressionistic work."

The Montreal-based indie group won the best album Grammy on Sunday for "The Suburbs" at the music industry's annual awards show in Los Angeles, seeing off competition from the likes of Lady Gaga, Lady Antebellum and Katy Perry.

And at the Brit Awards in London on Tuesday, the band, who first hit success with their 2004 debut album "Funeral", won the Best International Band and Best International Album prizes.

"I don't even know what year or day it is right now. We flew from Montreal to L.A. to London to here, so we haven't really had time to process. It is a pretty raw and emotional weekend," Win said.

"In a good way," chipped in his brother Will, who flew into Berlin together with Win's wife and band member Regine Chassagne.

"It feels like in some small way the world bumped a little bit left for a second, which is an exciting feeling. The last time I felt like that was when (US President Barack) Obama won North Carolina," joked Win.

"The number 10 Google query of that day (after the Grammys) was 'Who is Arcade Fire?', which to me is a great mark of success."

© 2011 AFP

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