“How does it feel to play? What does it mean to listen? As some of this existential questions are asked to musicians, long pauses occur. Because is it even possible to put the emotions of music into words? The documentary is a cinematic improvisation piece. It’s about being present in the now, about playing and improvising, about carrying on the legacy of generations of jazz pioneers and creating something, unlike anything you’ve ever heard before.” – Zinebi
“The film poses existential questions to influential jazz players such as Bill Frisell, Lee Konitz, Midori Takada and many others: how does it feel to play, and what does it mean to listen? What is it like to be a human being and spending your whole life trying to express something through sounds?” – La Biennale
La Biennale di Venezia 2022, World Premiere
“Official Selection of the 79th Venice Film Festival – Out of Competition”, winner MUSE Cinema & Arts Award (September 5–7)
Doclisboa International Film Festival, Portugal
Selected in the “Heart Beat” section (October 13)
Ghent Flanders Int. Film Festival, Belgium
Sound & Vision, (October 19-21)
Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, Czech Republic
Nordische Filmtage Lübeck, German Premiere
Selected as “Opening Film” of the 64th Nordic Film Days (November 2)
IFDA – International Documentary Filmfestival Amsterdam, Dutch Premiere
“Masters Section” (November 15–20)
ZINEBI – International Festival of Documentary and Short Film of Bilbao, Spain
“Music For Black Pigeons” is expected to reach cinemas worldwide in early 2023. Danish Premiere is set to January 26.
Cast: Lee Konitz, Paul Motian, Bill Frisell, Midori Takada, Andrew Cyrille, Mark Turner, Joe Lovano, Larry Grenadier, Jorge Rossy, Palle Mikkelborg, Joey Baron, Thomas Morgan, Arve Henriksen, Jakob Bro and Manfred Eicher.
Directors: Jørgen Leth and Andreas Koefoed
Producer: Emile Hertling Péronard (Ánorâk Film)
Photography: Adam Michael Jandrup
Editor: Adam Nielsen
Sound: Peter Albrechtsen
About: “Music For Black Pigeons” is the first collaboration between directors Jørgen Leth and Andreas Koefoed. The film poses existential questions to influential jazz players such as Bill Frisell, Lee Konitz, Midori Takada and many others: How does it feel to play, and what does it mean to listen? What is it like to be a human being and spending your whole life trying to express something through sounds? The characters wake up, rehearse, record, perform and talk about music. In some moments they are on the edge, the edge of existence, constantly challenging themselves. They listen. They devote themselves to finding a space to create a connection to something bigger than themselves. Something that will outlast all of us. For the past 14 years, the filmmakers followed Danish composer Jakob Bro, witnessing his musical encounters with acclaimed and eccentric musicians from across generations and nationalities. Through Bro’s compositions, the film’s characters explore the space of music—and in doing so answer some of the questions the film poses, in a poetic, life-affirming and entertaining way.
“Protagonist and common denominator of Music for Black Pigeons is Danish guitarist Jakob Bro, whose 2021 album Uma Elmo contains the track that lends its name to the film’s title. Frequently recording for the ECM label, Bro’s style of jazz represents a free and lyrical breed, contemplative yet swinging, praised by admirers for its spacious sound ambience and its adventurous diversity of the players involved. Like guitarist Bill Frisell astutely puts it, “How old you are, how young you are, what colour you are – all that stuff… disappears.” Thus, a Norwegian, a Haitian and a Japanese can easily be heard interacting together, or indeed an American or a Dane, of every age. Since 2008, Koefoed has followed and filmed Bro during various stage and recording dates involving iconic players like Frisell, Lee Konitz, Thomas Morgan, Paul Motian, Mark Turner, Joe Lovano, Midori Takada, Andrew Cyrille, Palle Mikkelborg, Jon Christensen and producer Manfred Eicher, chief guru of the ECM universe of sound and silence. Leth, heard offscreen unseen, conducts a series of close-up interviews, diving deep into the creators and their thoughts – as well as silences when words may fail.” – Cineurope