The film “Following the Ninth” didn’t really work for me, but there is something subversive and inspirational about it that may work for you.
The title refers to Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, his last completed symphony. He wrote it after he’d gone completely deaf. That symphony, or at least the “Ode to Joy” in the fourth and final movement, ranks with the most highly regarded and well known classical music.
The title phrasing, “Following the Ninth,” refers to some highly charged things that have happened in the world long after the Ninth Symphony began resonating across cultures. It refers to a sort of tour to places where the spirit of brotherhood and shared plight has helped people take some revolutionary stands. Mixed together are video montages and testimonials: tearing down the Berlin wall; persisting through violent government crackdowns in China and Chile; coming together after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan….
The title phrasing, “Following the Ninth,” doesn’t refer to presenting this symphony as a cohesive or expansive piece of music. It purposely plays in snippets, often in the background, and by necessity emphasizing the “Ode to Joy.” Using Friedrich Schiller’s poem, Beethoven made his ninth symphony into a choral piece. The words may help put the music into orbit, but most people are unaware that the words say things like “Joy…. Your magic brings together what custom has sternly divided. All men shall become brothers, wherever your gentle wings hover.”
You might say that the film short changes appreciation for Beethoven and this symphony, except that 90 percent of it lends such deference to very telling world events. You might say the film just pieces together a mish mosh of human society swelling to overcome oppression or hardship, except that we need to stay in touch with such swelling in whatever ways we can.
“Following the Ninth” was too haphazardly assembled as film making goes, but it unites resounding components that may stir you well.