Fascinating, elegant documentary portrait of American composer Elliott Carter whose career straddles the better part of the last century.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2005
“Dutch documentarian Frank Scheffer’s A Labyrinth of Time, a study of world-renowned American composer Elliott Carter, fascinates as it illuminates. The documentary lets the man, his process and his music flow in counterpoint to his times – which, for the 95-year-old Carter, is just about the entire 20th century… [Scheffer] began following Carter a quarter of a century ago, and his cinematic approach is clearly tailored to the serene energy of his central figure and the vigorous complexity of Carter’s music. Scheffer stresses the composer’s synthesis of Old World and New. The documentary geographically straddles Europe and America as it traces Carter both as a careful student of European musical traditions and as a brash American forging musical trails of his own… Scheffer’s documentary advances with a vitality and clarity enhanced rather than slowed down by its wealth of information. Carter’s own philosophical musings on time, on mechanization, and on the relationship between the individual and society assume surprisingly recognizable musical shape.” — Ronnie Scheib, Variety