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Scene from "Nocturne" (photo © Kai Miedendorp)

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 04/2010

Nocturne accompanies a piece of music, Night-turn for strings, from its birth in the composer’s head, via the arrangement of the interpretations and through rehearsals to its premiere, in this case the first reading of the notes by the musicians of the renowned Kairos Quartet. Featuring also the intellectual, sensory and emotional factors involved, this is a portrait of Dmitri Kourliandski’s inventive compositional methods as well as the working dynamics of a contemporary quartet. “How does music take form? How does the composition become more lively, more intense? How does it get its style and character and what changes do the interpretations make? Those are the core questions,” says Nocturne’s producer-director-writer, Ingo J. Biermann. “In this genre hardly anyone tackles the sub-cultural or aesthetic context anymore.” Nocturne further stands out because this is a film about new music that has yet to be composed, and being there during its genesis and onwards. "And my second interest," Biermann continues, "is to accompany a string quartet whose inner dynamic, arising from their many years together, provides a basis for tension and excitement; something I have never ever seen captured in a film." The Kairos Quartet has been forging its reputation for contemporary music since it was founded in 1996, and took to the project eagerly. Dmitri Kourliandski, from Russia, constructed Night-turn from sounds created by using the instruments in unconventional ways, for which he also invented a new way of writing the notes, some twenty techniques, each of which prescribes a new sound. Kourliandski wants to discover what happens to this material when it encounters people, musicians as well as listeners. As the composer himself says: “There can be no restrictions on art. ‘Abnormal’ sounds do not contradict today’s language position. On the contrary, such sounds form new active fields, where the decisive element is not the reliance on available experience, but the possibility of gaining a new one.” The result, for both musicians and listeners, is a brand new and unexpected listening experience. “Music always touches the soul,” Biermann opines, “whether one is aware of it or not. I look for images that portray the effect of the music and intensify it, especially for viewers who have until now little experience of or access to contemporary music. I aim to make the music’s creation and the artistic creative process an experience audiences can share. Nocturne sharpens the senses to give rise to another understanding of how one can encounter contemporary music and the excitement that it gives rise to.” Ingo J. Biermann was born in Stuttgart in 1978. He studied directing at the German Film & Television Academy (dffb) from 2004-2010. His films include Deed Poll (2004), Before the Concert (2007) and Mistress (2009), which is part of German Films’ Next Generation 2010, as well as his feature film Faust. A Tragedy: Part One, and his graduation film Voice – Sculpting Sound with Maja Ratkje (shooting until spring 2011 in several European countries). Nocturne is one of several feature films being realized as part of filmmaker Andres Veiel’s masterclass at the dffb. SK
Genre Art, Music
Category Documentary
Year of Production 2010
Director Ingo J. Biermann
Screenplay Stephan Schoenholtz, Ingo J. Biermann
Cinematography Kai Miedendorp
Ingo J. Biermann, Benjamin Laser
Kairos Quartet, Dmitri Kourliandski
Cast Wolfgang Bender, Simone Heilgendorff, Claudius von Wrochem, Dmitri Kourliandski, Stefan Häussler
Producer Ingo J. Biermann
Production Company Deutsche Film- und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB), in co-production with Myrland Films/Berlin
Format color
Shooting Dates Berlin, Vienna, December 2008-September 2009
Festivals Encounters Bristol 2017, Cork 2017, Animateka Ljubljana 2017

Myrland Films
Ingo J. Biermann
Eisenacher Strasse 77
10823 Berlin/Germany
phone +49-30-94 88 47 94
fax +49-30-25 75 91 52