Filmed on 5 continents and in 12 countries, 'Following The Ninth' is the story of four people whose lives have been transformed, repaired and healed by the 9th's message:' Alle Menschen werden Bruder (All People Are Connected).' At Tienanmen Square in 1989, students played the 9th over loudspeakers as the army came in to crush their protests for freedom. In Chile, women under the Pinochet dictatorship sang the 9th at torture prisons, and those inside took hope when they heard the music. In Japan each December, the 9th is performed hundreds of times, often with 10,000 people in the chorus. Part road trip, part adventure, Following The Ninth is a story about the power of music and human resilience in dark times. Written by
Schiller's poem is prophetic. A spark from the Enlightenment, the poem captivated Beethoven in his 20s. When he wrote his Ninth symphony 30 years later, he used Schiller's spark to ignite a flame, which he presented to the world. That flame forges a Humanity - a brotherhood - among those touched by it. The poem and the music thus have the power to create a joy in brotherhood: the very Joy they describe. They become self-sustaining.
And so the words "Alle Menschen werden Brueder", ("All men (mankind) become brothers") become prophetic. Their prophesy is fulfilled almost by fiat, simply by their declaration. With each performance, the spark of Humanity is rekindled; in the performers and the audience who are alert to it.
Candaele's film, the stories it tells, and the people it introduces, can awaken that Humanity in its audience. "Following the Ninth", helps spread Schiller's spark, from Weimar and Vienna -- through London, Santiago, Beijing, Berlin, and Tokyo -- to each viewer in each audience. In a real sense, the film helps fulfill the prophesy of Schiller's poem. No small accomplishment.
Epilogue: My enthusiasm borders on zealotry. I know that. Even so, the Joy expressed in the symphony and the film is so fundamental that I feel it is independent of religious or metaphysical entanglements. It is too fundamental to being Human.
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