Ernst Reijseger b. 1954
Do You Still? (2008)
Director: Jacques Goldstein
Year: 2008
Time: 42 mins
Ernst Reijseger
Larissa Groeneveld
Frank Van De Laar

Some artists choose, or are forced, not to jettison whole portions of their selves in the course of their work, embracing seemingly contradictory strands and sometimes succeeding in integrating them and diluting their apparent contrasts in a continuous spectrum of beauty. Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger stands out as a musician who manages to go down this road the hard way: without resorting to collage, counterpoint or wasted irony. The fact that he's worked with such opposite visions as Derek Bailey's and Yo-Yo Ma's, not to mention his regular excursions into musical fields lazily stringed together as "world" music, is perhaps the best possible description of his music: lyrical but fractured, his work disrespectfully transgresses the borders of jazz, improv, avant-garde, contemporary composition and popular music - all in a single note, with a single stroke. Jacques Goldstein's Do you Still? is a beautiful homage both to Reijseger's music and genre ambiguity. Though based on a trio live performance that focuses mostly on the lyrical side of the musician's soul (from his homonymous 2008 Winter & Winter release), it tries, and mostly manages, to balance the picture by capturing private solo improv sessions, both indoors and outdoors, that display Reijseger's mastery over different colours and tones - with the same astounding technique and soulful commitment. Interspersed with beautiful country- and city-side footage that evokes his ever contemplative music, Do You Still? also features intimate and sometimes bitter-sweet statements by Reijseger on his early years, "career" choices, mannerisms, anxieties and shortcomings. These different approaches, however, are seamlessly integrated into a serene, contemplative whole: neither a live-film nor a bio-doc or a visual essay, but all that and more.