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THE REVENGE OF THE DEAD INDIANS
1993

poster

DOCUMENTARY

Director:
Henning Lohner

Language:
German/English

Running Time: 125'

With the participation of:
Rutger Hauer
Jacqueline Daubert
William Forsythe
Dennis Hopper
Ben Habdallah
Edward Lorenz
Yoko Ono
Frank Zappa
Betty Freeman
Marvin Minsky
and many more

Screenplay:
Holger Hof and Henning Lohner

Plot:
This is a video dedicated to John Cage, the great composer. Particular attention is paid to “forgotten landscapes” (with their audios and videos aspects), places which are easily passed by because they are not considered special or popularly touristic. Some of the main themes are: chance, street noise, chaos, music and meteorology and the human brain.

The artists taking part it in also talk about their meetings with Cage and his influence on their works and lives. Also Cage takes part in this tribute with his musical and poetic contributions. This video is neither a documentary nor a feature film, it can be easily called a narrative feature length film. Each scene of the film stands completely for itself, as its own narrative entity in every single moment, and simultaneously contributes to the linear progression in time continuity that provides the story line of “The Revenge of the Dead Indians”.

Although this film is mostly centered around the subject of chance, nothing is left up to chance, or as Cage would say “Everything causes everything else - everything results from everything else”.

Notes:
In this film Rutger reads some of John Cage's writings.

In editing it, Lohner utilized a complete raw footage accumulated since they first started making films in 1988.
The shortest scene has the duration of exactly one frame, the longest scene lasts 4 minutes and 33 seconds. The last edit was assembled on January 26, 1993, after a work which lasted 8 weeks.

John Cage was born in Los Angeles, on September 5, 1912 and died in New York, on August 12, 1992.

He left Pomona College early to travel in Europe (1930-31), then studied with Cowell in New York (1933-4) and Schönberg in Los Angeles (1934): his first published compositions, in a rigorous atonal system of his own, date from this period. In 1937 he moved to Seattle to work as a dance accompanist, and there in 1938 he founded a percussion orchestra; his music now concerned with filling units of time with ostinatos (First Construction -in Metal-, 1939). He also began to use electronic devices (variable-speed turntables in "Imaginary Landscape no.1", 1939) and invented the 'prepared piano', placing diverse objects between the strings of a grand piano in order to create an effective percussion orchestra under the control of two hands. He moved to San Francisco in 1939, to Chicago in 1941 and back to New York in 1942, all the time writing music for dance companies.

During this period Cage became interested in Eastern philosophies, especially in Zen, from which he gained a treasuring of non-intention. Working to remove creative choice from composition, he used coin tosses to determine events (Music of Changes for piano, 1951), wrote for 12 radios (“Imaginary Landscape no.4”, also 1951) and introduced other indeterminate techniques. His 4'33'' (1952) has no sound added to that of the environment in which it is performed; the Concert for Piano and Orchestra (1958) is an encyclopedia of indeterminate notations. Yet other works show his growing interest in the theater of musical performance (“Water Music”, 1952, for pianist with a variety of non-standard equipment) and in electronics (“Imaginary Landscape no.5” for randomly mixed recordings, culminating in various large-scale events staged as jamborees of haphazardness. The later output is various, including indeterminate works, others fully notated within a very limited range of material, and pieces for natural resources (plants, shells).

Cage also appeared widely in Europe and the USA as a lecturer and performer, having an enormous influence on younger musicians and artists; he wrote several books.

John Cage


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