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<<  -- 2 --  Tess Crebbin    LIFE MATTERS


Cowardly, almost, is our modern time's avoidance of the questions that address man's purpose in life, or the purpose of life in general. We press and shove and force so many things into our days that barely a second is left to think, much less to contemplate.

Inflamed with passion for the deeper purpose of art, Starr sets out to put the record straight. And one day, when everything artificial collapses, as our lives come to an end and money and status is left behind as being of no value, then we will, perhaps, see how foolish the avoidance of life at its most basic has been. Enter Starr, a camera, and a crew of three. If you think he is just a filmmaker who is going to clang and bang through the more intricate aspects of Mahler's work, think again. You are watching the work of a man who has a Masters degree in music, who taught music theory and composition before he turned his focus on film because he found himself crying out for a deeper understanding of music, to be reserved not just for a few elitists but for the broad masses also.

'I really believe that art is best when it reaches many, and involves people in a community of feeling. On occasion television can do that for us. And it is certainly what Mahler's symphonies do for us', says Starr.

The DVD arrives in a box, a nice box, of course, but it belies the swarm of high-calibre questions, helped along by great music, that lie inside and may torture us at times, may cast a different light on our entire existence, and will certainly not fail to move us since this documentary is an artistic performance executed to perfection.

A still frame of eight horn players. Photo © Video Arts International
A still frame of eight horn players. Photo © Video Arts International

What makes it so brilliant? For one, it touches on a very universal level. I am not a Mahler fanatic, but when I was through watching Starr's documentary, my first reaction was to call everyone and say they had to see this. It is not for the faint-hearted. If you cringe at the thought of addressing life's deeper questions then you are better off playing yet another computer game, or getting drunk. But if you are not unwise enough to split from the very essence of existence, and willing to drop your protective shield, then let Starr take you into a world of flirtatious flowers that live for the sake of the moment, let him ask questions about the purpose of loss, personal or universal, and through all of this, listen to Mahler's music cry out for meaning in a coarse and unrefined world.

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Copyright © 16 June 2004 Tess Crebbin, Germany


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