Giacinto Scelsi. The First Motion of the Immovable

Director Sebastiano d'Ayala Valva
France, Italy / 81 min. / 2018 / French and Italian / English subtitles

When Sebastiano d’Ayala Valva was 10 years old, his father played him music by his cousin, the composer Giacinto Scelsi. He found it frightening. Now he attempts to penetrate the world of a composer who remained obscure for many years and whose ideas about music and sound were unorthodox.


Scelsi, who died in 1988, claimed that he didn’t create his music himself, but that it came to him from the gods. He spent much of his life as a recluse and refused to be photographed. Here he comes to life through the memories of singers and musicians, in powerful visual associations in which nature often plays a role, in the palm tree in which he’s said to be reincarnated, and in his music that can sometimes sound otherworldly. The portrait unfolds organically, and its palette is broad, from personal moments with d’Ayala Valva’s elderly father to the abstract beauty of interference patterns generated by Scelsi’s music. It’s an introduction to a mystical universe in which Scelsi himself still has a presence, in the form of sound recordings of his reflections.

Jaïr Tchong is a cultural journalist and activist. He’s also a music documentary / music film fanatic, event organizer (Melkweg and Tolhuistuin) and former afrolatin DJ. For IDFA 2018 he worked as Press Officer for the Netherlands. His top 3 desert island choice of must see music docs is: Eline Flipse’s De oogst van de stilte (‘Broken Silence’), Tony Gatlif’s Latcho Drom and Hans Hylkema’s Eric Dolphy – Last Date.


Tchong will give a short introduction to Giacinto Scelsi. The First Motion of the Immovable.

In collaboration with:

IDFA presents: Giacinto Scelsi. The First Motion of the Immovable
Sunday 7 at 14:45
Presentation by Jaïr Tchong

 Free for members of:

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Santi Minasi
Sebastiano d'Ayala Valva
Nicolas Lesoult