Jóhann Jóhannsson's Final Project 'Last and First Men' Set for Release

His poetic swansong will arrive later this year
Jóhann Jóhannsson's Final Project 'Last and First Men' Set for Release
Jóhann Jóhannsson's final project, Last and First Men, is set to make its premiere at this year's Berlin Film Festival, but in case you can't attend, the late composer's poetic swansong is now getting a wide release.

Following its world premiere at the festival on February 25, First and Last Men — Jóhannsson's first and last work as a film director — will be released worldwide this year via Deutsche Grammophon. The film will arrive digitally, as well as via Blu-ray, and contain Jóhannsson's self-penned score. It will also eventually arrive as a 2-LP vinyl package.

The CD/Blu-ray will arrive on March 27 internationally, with an earlier release date of February 28 in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. Meanwhile, the limited vinyl edition, which also comprises three art prints, will also arrive on March 27 internationally, though on April 10 in North America.

A press release explains the Last and First Men film like this:

The final version of the film, which tells the story of the extinction of humanity, was completed by Norwegian cinematographer Sturla Brandth Grøvlen. It is narrated by Oscar-winning actress Tilda Swinton, and features performances by several of Jóhannsson's regular musical collaborators, including members of Theatre of Voices, and the Academy Award-winning Hildur Guðnadóttir on vocals, cello and percussion.

The PR goes on to add:

The project was conceived a decade ago as an idea for a film inspired by Olaf Stapledon's eponymous science-fiction novel, a chilling "future history" first published in London in 1930 and now a cult classic, and by Antwerp-based photographer Jan Kempenaers' Spomenik, a collection of mystical images of brutalist war monuments commissioned by Marshal Tito and built on the sites of World War Two massacres and concentration camps in the republics of the former Yugoslavia.

Before Jóhannsson passed away in 2018, he said of his film, "We wanted to film these sculptures in a formalistic manner to emphasize their strange asymmetrical beauty. We woke every morning at four o'clock to be ready for sunrise and stayed outside filming all day until there was no light. It was one of the happiest experiences in my life, and one of the most gruelling."

Jóhannsson was nominated for back-to-back Oscars in 2015 and 2016, for his score work with James Marsh's The Theory of Everything and Denis Villeneuve's Sicario, respectively. His final score for Panos Cosmatos's Mandy received a posthumous release in 2018.

You can pre-order the Last and First Men CD/Blu-ray edition and get more details here, while the vinyl version can be viewed here.