A Zen master or an expert on chance? A specialist in mushrooms or a performance artist? The inventor of new sounds or a cook? An author or an anarchist? John Cage was all of these things.
On the occasion of his centenary in fall 2012, this documentary by Oscar-winner Allan Miller and Emmy-winner Paul Smaczny pays tribute to the most fascinating American avant-garde composer John Cage. Shot in America, Germany and Japan, the program premieres rare archival footage; presenting concert excerpts and a set of short episodes, featuring associates of Cage and contemporary artists, playfully delineating different aspects of John Cage.
The documentary features interviews with Yoko Ono, David Tudor, Christian Wolff, Steffen Schleiermacher, Irvine Arditti, Toshio Hosokawa, Mayumi Miyata, Calvin Tomkins and many others.
"Tens of millions of people have seen these films. nobody knows who made them. Curled up on our couches in the wee hours of the morning, in reruns, and nostalgic You Tube forwards, filmmaker Al Jarnow has touched our lives and changed the way we look at the world without us ever knowing. Beginning with his work for a certain public television show that featured a big yellow bird, Al Jarnow captured life's scientific minutia and boiled it down for easy consumption between cookie eating monsters and counting vampires. Coupling time-lapse, stop motion, and cell animation with simple objects found in every day life, Jarnow deconstructed the world for an entire generation. From the third floor of his Long Island gingerbread home, his mind wandered beyond the confines of educational programming. Delving into New York's avant-garde film scene alongside Harry Smith, Jonas Mekas and Stan Brakhage, Jarnow created a body of awe-inspiring films that remain in the collections of MOMA and Pompideau Center. Employing the archival skills honed during the excavation of over 40 full-length albums, Celestial Navigations marks The Numero Group's first foray into the world of cinema. The 45 films collected have been transferred and color corrected from the original 16mm prints, along with fully remastered sound. Special features include a 30-minute documentary on Jarnow's creative process, as well as film playlists designed for both children and adults alike. The deluxe package includes a 60-page book loaded to the gills with essays, ephemera, storyboards, photos, and a complete film index, all housed in the iconic Numero slipcase." Region 0; color and B&W; full screen; total running time: 110 minutes. Includes a 60-page full color book.
Mary Ellen Bute: Polka Graph (1947), Color Rhapsodie (1948) and Abstronic (1952)
Jordan Belson: Mandala (1953), Meditation (1971) and Chakra (1972)
Charles Dockum: Mobilcolor Performance at the Guggenheim (1952), Demonstration of Mobilcolor Projector (documentary, 1966) and Mobilcolor Performance Film (1969)
Barry Spinello, Sonata for Pen, Brush and Ruler (1968)
Jules Engel: Landscape (1971), Mobiles (1978) and Play-Pen (1986)