John Cage 1912-1992
Klaus Wildenhahn - John Cage (1966)
This rare documentary, simply called "John Cage", was made in 1966 for the German TV station NDR and is one of the earliest films devoted entirely to the work of Cage and his collaborators. It was made on the occasion of the Cage and Cunningham European tour in that year, and instead of fully explaining the music and philosophy of the composer, we get a fascinating glimpse at the work process of the dance troupe and of Cage himself. Most of the film is concerned with showing us how they set up a performance for the Nuits de la Fondation Maeght, and there is a lot of interview and everyday material with Cage, Merce Cunningham, David Tudor, Gordon Mumma and Carolyn Brown, to name just the best known artists here. It's also nice to see a rather youthful looking Cage (though he was 54 at the time!), still wearing the famous tie that had been cut off by Nam June Paik a few years earlier. There's also some archival footage from Tudor's and Cage's very first German performance in Darmstadt in 1954.

Note: as this was a German production, the explanatory voice-over is in German. Sometimes the words of the interviewees are thus made inaudible; however this only happens occasionally, and most of the English language parts are left intact, so that you can still follow most of what is said by Cage and the others even if you don't speak German.