Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven's Final Symphony (2013)
At Tiananmen Square in 1989, students played Beethoven's Ninth Symphony over loudspeakers as the army came in to crush them. In Chile, women living under Pinochet's dictatorship sang the Ninth at torture prisons, as men inside took hope when they heard their voices. When the Berlin Wall, symbol of division and oppression, came down in December 1989, Leonard Bernstein performed Beethoven's Ninth as an "Ode To Freedom". And In Japan, each December, the Symphony is performed hundreds of times, often with 10,000 people in the chorus-most recently in concert for the victims of the earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku. Part road trip, part adventure story, FOLLOWING THE NINTH is an inspirational film about Beethoven's Choral Symphony, its majestic power to liberate us, to shield us against suffering, to provide hope and resilience during dark times. Filmed on five continents and in 12 countries, FOLLOWING THE NINTH is the story of four lives that have been transformed and repaired by the music, expressed most vividly in the prophecy of the Ode to Joy: "Alle Menschen werden Brüder"(All Men Will Be Brothers). (c) Official Site … More
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Critic Reviews for Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven's Final Symphony
The film is badly overconceived, especially when Candaele divides her subjects' stories into five chapters based on the symphony's respective movements, but the personal reminiscences are stirring and occasionally heartbreaking.
Writer-director Kerry Candaele incisively documents the ideological legacy of opus 125 in Chile, China and Germany.
Despite the good intentions, structurally it's all over the place with an excess of montages, archival footage, interviews and information practically drowning out any chance to appreciate the richness of the German composer's beloved achievement.
A perceptive look at how the "Ode to Joy" served as an anthem for liberation struggles, something Beethoven clearly intended as a partisan of the French Revolution.
All the film's segments are smartly assembled and gracefully paced. Oh, and the score's pretty good, too.
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