John Cage – Birdcage DVD



The legendary film collage, created in 1972 on commission of WDR and SWR on the occasion of the 60th birthday of John Cage and premiered at the Donaueschingen Music Festival, paints an extraordinary picture of Cage the Artist, of his musical and extra-musical thinking, his character and his remarkable oeuvre. The cinematographic composition, which is released here in the unabridged original version for the first time, was realized by the composer and writer Hans G Helms.

Helms assembled various film materials into a special kind of mosaic: Historical flashbacks, biographical milestones and music recordings are complemented by original commentaries of the composer’s contemporaries, companions and friends, such as Carolyn Brown, Philip Corner, Merce Cunningham, Teeny Duchamp, Don Gillespie, Doris Hays, Frederic Rzewski, Grete Sultan, Margaret Tan, David Tudor, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, and Paul Zukofsky. The twittering of birds – symbol of the aesthetically unintentional and basic material of Cage’s tape composition ‘Birdcage’ – runs like a thread through the film, forming its musical basis.