Musical sequence: music for the eyes, film for the ears

The films in this session materially present music among their images, without attempting to illustrate or describe it. These are works that show the visible part of music on screen: sheet music, instruments, performers, rehearsals, recordings, recitals and audiences. Following the notes of Robert Bresson, here the music does not accompany, sustain or reinforce the images, instead, performed on screen, structuring and overturning them.

Many of the films of Manon de Boer and Jayne Parker present musicians, with their gestures, technique and instruments, as they perform certain pieces, like the ones included in this session: Sequenza, by Luciano Berio, Blues in B-flat, by Volker Heyn, Tre Canti Popolari, by Giacinto Scelsi, and 4’33”, by John Cage. Pere Portabella did something similar in the seventies, with the musician and composer Carles Santos in Play Back and Acció Santos, calling on music and its office as a central element, something he continued to do in much of his work.

The last film in the session is dedicated to the composer Christian Wolff and is one of the many in which Luke Fowler takes music and musicians as his subject. Here, the Scottish filmmaker creates a portrait of the US composer, showing, with his sketches and voice, some of the strategies he uses when composing.

Sequenza, Manon de Boer, 2014, 16 mm, 14 min

The Oblique, Jayne Parker, 2018, 16 mm, 11 min

One, Two, Many, Manon de Boer, 2012, Super 16 mm, Catalan subtitles, 21 min

Play Back, Pere Portabella, 1970, 35 mm, 8 min

Acció Santos, Pere Portabella, 1973, 35 mm, 12 min

Two Times 4’33”, Manon de Boer, 2008, 35 mm, 12 min

For Christian, Luke Fowler, 2016, 16 mm, Catalan subtitles, 6 min

Digital screening.

Copies courtesy of LUX and Pere Portabella – Films 59.

A programme by Celeste Araújo and Oriol Sánchez.

16 February 2020


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