Giacinto Scelsi. The First Motion of the Immovable

Le premier mouvement de l’immobile

  • Sebastiano d'Ayala Valva
  • France, Italy
  • 2018
  • 81 min
  • International Premiere
  • IDFA Competition for First Appearance

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.

An example of Scelsi’s transcendental music can be experienced in 3-D at the IDFA DocLab exhibition, in a VR recording of his famously challenging orchestral work Uaxuctum.

TV5MONDE supports all French-language productions at IDFA 2018. For more French documentaries with Ducth subtitles, visit TV5MONDE.


  • 81 min
  • color
  • DCP
  • Spoken languages: Italian, French, English, German
  • Subtitles in: English
Sebastiano d'Ayala Valva
Nicolas Lesoult for Les Films de la Butte
Sebastiano d'Ayala Valva
Santi Minasi

IDFA history

International Premiere
IDFA Competition for First Appearance

Share this film

Print this page

IDFA history

This website uses cookies.

By using cookies we can measure how our site is used, how it can be further improved and to personalize the content of online advertisements.

 here everything about our cookie policy. If you choose to decline, we only place functional and analytical cookies