Luc Ferrari 1929-2005
Luc Ferrari: Facing his Tautology (2005)
Year: 2005
Time: 52 mins
Music: Luc Ferrari, Jean-Philippe Collard-Neven, Vincent Royer

Shot shortly before Luc Ferrari's demise, Facing his Tautology has the fundamental merit of avoiding the temptation of a sentimentalist epitaph mode. Indeed, the fact that the film's subtitle alludes to this sad coincidence may perhaps, given the general tone of the picture, be more of an imposition by the producing label than a decision by the directors. Facing his Tautology was recorded in France, during the initial stages of a new Ferrari production, a new version of his 1969 piece Tautologos III. The score is actually nothing more than a set of rules, whose results are to be decided by the musicians' inspiration and Ferrari's sensibility. The film allows us an intimate glimpse of the composer's methods and centers on his relationship with the performers (which, in this case at least, amounts to the same). The picture we are presented with is one of an active, sagacious, good-humored and open-minded man, miles away from the stereotype of the composer-dictator in complete charge of his output (as seen in, say, documentaries on Stockhausen or Boulez). In fact, Ferrari allows himself, and concomitantly the directors, to demystify the concept of the composer itself: although never declining is position, Ferrari assumes the role of a guide, someone who is steering the wheels and coordinating efforts and sensibilities to achieve a result in which all participants can claim a finger of their own. What is perhaps more rewarding in this fascinating documentary is the human confirmation or translation of the composer we hear in his pieces: such generous, transgressing, humorous, intelligent, sarcastic, joyful music does indeed stem from a man with all those qualities. -- Eye of Sound