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John Cage: How To Get Out Of The Cage (John Cage Documentary) (/ Frank Scheffer) (Euroarts: 2059168) [DVD] [NTSC] [2012]

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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  • John Cage: How To Get Out Of The Cage (John Cage Documentary) (/ Frank Scheffer) (Euroarts: 2059168) [DVD] [NTSC] [2012]
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  • Cage: Journeys In Sound (John Cage/ Allan Miller/ Paul Smaczny) (Accentus Music: ACC20246) [DVD] [2012] [NTSC]
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Product details

  • Actors: John Cage
  • Directors: John Cage, Frank Scheffer
  • Format: Classical, Colour, DVD-Video, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: German, French, Japanese
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Euroarts
  • DVD Release Date: 3 Sept. 2012
  • Run Time: 52 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 160,069 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

New Documentary by Frank Scheffer based on his archives on the occasion of John Cages 100. Anniversary of Birth on September 5, 2012 .

From 1982 to 1992 Frank Scheffer worked with John Cage on many different occasions, which resulted in a unique archive of historical audio-visual material. Based on this unique archive, including interviews, musical performances and images of different locations related to his life and work - filmed on 16mm - the filmmaker Scheffer created How To Get Out Of The Cage A Year With John Cage.

The famous artist Marina Abramovic introduced me to John Cage. She thought it would be worthwhile for me to get in touch with him and right she was! In June 1982 I did an hour-long interview with him without knowing how influential he was. He loved the fact that it was an interview without preconceptions. It dramatically changed my way of thinking. He had opened my mind! Frank Scheffer


'Splendid... [the] micro lectures are an utter delight: intensely engaging and extremely illuminating they punctuate the action beautifully. The five experimental films, dating from 1988 to 2011, complement the documentary very well... All of the films on this DVD will appeal to the aficionado as well as those seeking an insight into the ideas and the music of one of the most adventurous, imaginative and innovative composers of our time.' Performance *****/Picture & Sound ***** --Robert Worby, BBC Music Magazine - Dec.'12

This approach manages to be both economical and engaging… [the extras'] individually self-contained nature makes each a stand-alone experience and certainly adds to the value of the disc. --Roger Thomas, International Record Review

My advice? Watch Ryoanji first and marvel at how Cage unifies sound and image. The controversies are set to endure but the art speaks for itself. --Frank Scheffer, Gramophone

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John Cage very early on in this documentary states that he has 'no feeling for harmony' but is interested in sounds (without harmony). This, in the light of musical history is a pretty strong challenge to the musical establishment. As time went by he extended this to an exploration and belief in the pursuit of 'chance' where the sounds he 'created' were presented in an increasingly random way where each piece becomes a new piece at the point of performance and where the performer is actively involved in the process of the 'composition'. He relates this concept of chance to that of some Chinese philosophy.

In one ballet extract he explains that the 'music' has nothing to do with the dancers' movements, both being conceived randomly. In addition, the only reason that both can be experienced in the same performing space is 'for the convenience' of the viewer/listener. In other words the two elements of the dance and the sounds could be performed independently in completely different venues and this would still be the 'composition'.

In answer to the question 'What is the point?' he likes to quote one philosopher as saying that to question the point is to miss the point (and to be rude at the same time). To me this seems like an evasion technique which is not as clever as it seems. Many of his statements based on philosophical ideas seem contradictory or at least somewhat doubtful. For instance, his best friends he says are those whom he doesn't understand. For me, believing as i do that friendship must involve a level of communication, this seems simply contradictory. One wonders what his friends' reactions might be to this statement.
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