Following the Ninth

Synopsis & Film Details

Filmworks presents the international co-production, “Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony,” an inspirational look at one of the most iconic pieces of music of all time. The movie, which was filmed on five continents and in 12 countries, functions as a part road trip and part adventure story. It focuses on four people whose lives have been transformed and repaired by Beethoven’s liberating and resilient message in his Ninth Symphony–Alle Menschen werden Bruder, or: All men will be brothers. In addition, the movie explores the worldwide cultural and political influence of the symphony on past events. (In China’s Tienanmen Square, students played the Ninth over loudspeakers as the army came in to crush their struggle for freedom in 1989. In Chile, women living under the Pinochet dictatorship sang the Ninth outside torture prisons, where men inside took hope as they heard the voices. In Japan, the Ninth has performed hundreds of times each December, often with 10,000 people in the chorus. And in Germany, the Berlin Wall, a symbol of division and oppression, comes down, as Leonard Bernstein performed Beethoven’s Ninth as an “Ode To Freedom” in 1989.) The Village Voice calls the movie “the rarest of films: a documentary as ineffable and transformative in its reach as it sets out to be.”

Director: Kerry Candaele
USA (2013) • 90 minutes • Not rated

Discussion Circle
Join musician and scholar Dr. Thomas Loewenheim to talk about the film. A professor of music at Fresno State, Loewenheim has also served as the music director for Youth Orchestras of Fresno since 2008. Loewenheim has combined cello performance, conducting, and teaching at the international level. He has toured North America, Europe, the Middle East, and the Far East, performing with orchestras, giving recitals, and playing chamber music. Moderated by Filmworks board member Mary Husain.

Youth Orchestras of Fresno
A Fresno cultural arts institution since 1950, Youth Orchestras of Fresno currently serves 300 young musicians from throughout the Central Valley. YOOF conducts a free after-school violin program at Edison Bethune Charter Academy, an elementary school in downtown Fresno. Upcoming performance: Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, at the Saroyan Theatre on Sunday, May 25 at 4 p.m. With a commitment to access and inclusivity, all YOOF performances are free and open to the public.

Monthly-Presenting-Jan2014Filmworks thanks K-Jewel 99.3 FM, The Fresno Bee, Vida en el Valle, and Stella Artois for their support.