Melbourne International Film Festival 2017

The Silent Eye

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Considered one of the architects of 20th-century free jazz alongside the likes of John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor is a radical improviser who, at 88, continues to experiment with musical form. Director Amiel Courtin-Wilson, whose features Hail (MIFF 2011) and Ruin (2013) have placed him at the vanguard of Australian filmmaking, had wanted to make a film of Taylor’s work since seeing the pianist live in New York some nine years ago.

Shot over three days in 2016 at Taylor’s New York home, The Silent Eye bears witness to an intimate, wordless ballet between Taylor’s improvised music and the movement of legendary Japanese dancer and butoh performer Min Tanaka. For 70 minutes, these two masters riff under the graceful lens of Germain McMicking’s impressionistic photography, inviting the audience to experience a glimpse of the creative process at its most sublime.