Trip to Asia

A film by Thomas Grube (2008)

Sir Simon Rattle, Berliner Philharmoniker

107 min.

The world of the Berliner Philharmoniker: 128 musicians, all masters of their craft who, in the service of a common purpose, combine their individual virtuosity to form the orchestra's sound. What are the human and artistic secrets that make this possible? How do they reconcile the contradictions of ego and community? Director Thomas Grube explores these questions in his film Trip to Asia.

In the almost 130 years of its existence, the Berliner Philharmoniker have never given such deep insight into life within the orchestra. At first sight, Trip to Asia appears to be a documentary about a tour by the orchestra and its chief conductorm Sir Simon Rattle to Beijing, Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Taipei and Tokyo. Amidst the vibrant cities of Asia, in the encounter between Western tradition and Asian philosophy, Asian and European modernism, the various motivations and temperaments which each of these distinct personalities bring to the orchestra can be seen during a several week-long journey with all its feelings of curiosity, passion and exhaustion. With remarkable candour and reflection, the musicians and their conductor tell of their life, of their doubts and the pressures of performance, of tradition and change, friendship and competition, of the gruelling trial period as a new member of the orchestra to the sadness of leaving - and about the longing for perfect musical fulfilment.

Berliner Philharmoniker
Sir Simon Rattle Conductor

Written and directed by Thomas Grube
Directors of photography: René Dame, Alberto Venzago, Anthony Dod Mantle, Stefan Ciupek
Sound: Pascal Capitolin, Bernd von Bassewitz
Montage: Martin Hoffmann
Score composer: Simon Stockhausen
Original music: Richard Strauss, Ludwig van Beethoven, Thomas Adès
Sound design: Tom Korr, Simon Stockhausen
Sound mix: Tom Korr, Florian Beck, Robby Jäger
Line producers: Peter Hermann, Marc Wächter
Produced by Uwe Dierks, Thomas Grube, Andrea Thilo
Co-producers: BBC (Alan Yentob), ZDF (Anca-Monica Pandelea)

A BOOMTOWNMEDIA production, funded by MBB Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg, FFA Filmförderungsanstalt, BKM Beauftragter der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien

Awards: German Cinema Guild Award 2008 ("Best Documentary"), International Valladolid Film Festival 2008 (2nd Prize "Time of History"), International Palm Springs Film Festival 2009 ("Best of Fest"), Video Champion 2008 (Nomination "Best DVD")