Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven's Final Symphony (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes

Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven's Final Symphony (2013)

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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

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Critic Reviews for Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven's Final Symphony

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (5)

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.

December 23, 2013 | Full Review…

Writer-director Kerry Candaele incisively documents the ideological legacy of opus 125 in Chile, China and Germany.

December 20, 2013 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

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.

November 21, 2013 | Full Review…

All the film's segments are smartly assembled and gracefully paced. Oh, and the score's pretty good, too.

November 1, 2013 | Full Review…

Each anecdote builds upon the next to create that rarest of films: a documentary as ineffable and transformative in its reach as it sets out to be.

October 31, 2013 | Full Review…

The film rarely lets you contemplate the music without competition from strong images, and another five or so minutes could have offered background to the work itself. But like Beethoven's, this Ninth leaves you wanting more.

March 24, 2016 | Full Review…

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