Labyrinth of Time
Photos and Video
Dutch filmmaker Frank Scheffer spent more than 20 years following the American composer Elliot Carter to create this absorbing portrait of an artist, a movement, and an entire century. Carter's life begins in the century's beginning, stretching from a New York City without automobiles to Paris in the 1930s, from the Greenwich Village of the 1950s to a post-September 11 downtown of rubble and fire engines. Manhattan-born, raised, and still residing, Carter could fascinate solely as a symbol of New York City itself, but it is his music, and his effort to "consider time in a different way," that has made him arguably America's most influential, respected classical composer. Shaped by the modernist movement, Carter may have studied the work of Varese and Ives, Stravinsky and Schoenberg, but his synthesis is all his own, its mix of cerebral tones and passion all the more remarkable for having been created, as one colleague admires, not by Europeans, but by these barbarian Americans, who produce Coca-Cola and popcorn. Merging elegiac images of the world around Carter (New York subways, the American landscape, Paris) with revealing interviews and a breathtaking soundtrack of modernist pieces, A Labyrinth of Time reveals how one man's artistry can become, to borrow the title of his 1976 piece, a mirror in which to dwell.
Director's Statement Collapse
For me Elliott Carter is the last of the Mohicans, the last composer in a direct line from Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Schoenberg, and Strawinsky. The greatest composer alive is not European but from New York. I'm very proud to show this film for its first appearance at the Tribeca Film Festival in the city where the composer was born and lived his whole life. This young film festival also reflects the vividness that is so characteristic for his music. Especially for the premiere of A Labyrinth of Time he composed a short piece for two trumpets and a horn, with the title "Call." I followed Elliott Carter for more then 20 years and every second was worth it. Of all the composers I have met he is the most humble, intelligent, and sympathetic human being. His profound music is not easy to follow but once one grasps the essence of it a very rich musical world is be revealed. I hope the film will give the audience the key to this world.
Film Information Collapse
[LABYR] | 2004 | 93 | Documentary Feature
Foreign Title: (A Labyrinth of Time)
About the Director(s)Collapse
Born in 1956, in The Netherlands, Frank Scheffer studied at the Academy for International Design in Eindhoven and at the Vrije Academie Art College in The Hague, under the tutelage of experimental filmmaker Frank Zwartjes. Also a graduate of the Dutch Film Academy in Amsterdam, Scheffer founded Allegri Film Company, which specializes in art and music documentaries. He has made documentaries about many important musicians of the 20th century, including Pierre Boulez, John Cage, Brian Eno, Gustav Mahler, Arnold Schonberg, and Igor Stravinsky. Other films have included Zoetrope People (a film about Francis Ford Coppola), a documentary on the Dalai Lama and other sociocultural subjects, and music videos. In 2004, Scheffer completed A Labyrinth of Time, a film stemming from his 25-year interest in the work of Elliott Carter. Another work-in-progress is a documentary on the Tea-Opera composed by Tan Dun. Scheffer was honored with a complete retrospective of his films at the 2001 Holland Festival.