The First Motion of the Immovable

Synopsis

The childhood memory of the moment his father made him listen to a terrifying music, pushed the director onto the trail of his mysterious relative: the composer Giacinto Scelsi (1905-1988). Claiming not to be the author of his own music, Scelsi insisted he received it from the divine. Spending the majority of his life a recluse in his apartment in Rome, he went so far as to prohibit anyone from photographing him. Near the end of his life, he decided to record his memories and thoughts on magnetic tape, requesting that they not be made public until fifteen years after his death. In “The First Movement of the Immovable,” while the director attempts to overcome an ancestral fear through a deep immersion in the spiritual soundscape of a visionary yet invisible artist, the spirit of Scelsi finds a new and disembodied expression in its ideal form: the sound wave.

Author’s note

This film was born out of a fear I felt as a child. 

« The First Motion of the Immovable » is an attempt to understand, and perhaps overcome, this fear.

Scelsi helped me understand creation in different terms: he pushed me to go beyond the restrictive concept of art as catharsis, or mere expression of a point of view, or the simple result of personal ideas. Instead he pushed me to see art as a state of availability, of opening, which permits the artist to receive from outside that which nourishes his art, transforming him into nothing more than an intermediary.

In order to reach this state of availability, which involves going beyond the self, it is necessary to overcome our own ego and arrive at this indefinable « elsewhere, » around which Scelsi built his creative existence. Personal ideas are undoubtedly an important point of departure in every creative process, but it is necessary at a later moment to distance oneself from them. They limit themselves to defining our intentions, reassuring us, giving us the illusion of mastery.

The elsewhere, on the contrary, inspires fear. We are not able to master it. We enter an area of ​​danger and uncertainty from which we are unsure we are able to return. I believe that while listening to the music of Scelsi it is possible to touch this invisible elsewhere. For him it was a fragment of a primordial sound, a creative force he interpreted as the origin of the creation of the universe. “Sound is the first movement of the immovable and this explains creation, » he said.

Sound has an impact on us and we recognise it as a life of its own. We become, in spite of everything, esoteric, animists. Reason opposes these feelings and calls forth an ancestral fear which Scelsi’s music is able to awaken in us.

Fear is an obstacle to creation, it immobilises us. I believe the goal of every human being is to free oneself from fear, which is certainly impossible, but for which it is essential to strive, struggling against one’s own death instinct.  We do it through movement, creating a dynamic that permits us to receive something from an elsewhere unknown but that will never cease to amaze us, if we let it.

Now that the film is finished and I look back, I think I wanted to celebrate life as a creative existence, an existence that brings to light, which creates form, depth, emotion. Whether due to physical decay or sickness of the soul, the end of this creative existence is terrifying, even more than physical death.

“The First Motion of the Immovable” perhaps represents this vital instinct that is creativity and that we all have inside. It is the first gesture that sets the creative process in motion, as one of the characters of the film says, referring to a physical law: « At the base of every creative process there is a movement, a dynamic.” It is through this dynamic that we rebel against immobility and the disappearance of people. Thereby challenging death, our only certainty.

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