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Quartet for the End of Time

This is a short music documentary about Olivier Messiaen's transcendent masterpiece, that he composed and debuted in a World War II prison camp on January 15, 1941. The film was completed on the 75th Anniversary of that historic premiere, and features "The President's Own" United States Marine Band Ensemble.

  • H. Paul Moon
    Samuel Barber: Absolute Beauty, The Passion of Scrooge, Sitka: A Piano Documentary
  • Karen Johnson
    Key Cast
  • "The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band Ensemble
    Key Cast
  • Olivier Messiaen
  • Project Title (Original Language):
    Quatuor pour la fin du temps
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    Classical Music, World War II, Music Documentary
  • Runtime:
    30 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    January 15, 2016
  • Production Budget:
    1,500 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Internationale Messiaen-Tage
    January 15, 2017
    World Premiere
  • International Fine Arts Film Festival
    Santa Barbara, California
    United States
    September 28, 2019
    California Premiere
    Official Selection
  • Frozen River Film Festival
    Winona, Minnesota
    United States
    February 8, 2020
    Midwest Premiere
    Official Selection
Director Biography - H. Paul Moon

H. Paul Moon (zenviolence.com) is a filmmaker whose work includes short and feature-length documentaries, dance films, and experimental cinema, featured and awarded at over a hundred film festivals worldwide. He has taught documentary editing at Docs In Progress as an Adobe Certified Expert, and serves as adjunct professor at George Mason University's Film and Video Studies program. He also manages a network of online communities at focuspulling.com that keeps pace with new camera technologies. He worked as a small camera specialist for a Paramount feature film starring Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg, and as cinematographer for director Josephine Decker’s film in "collective:unconscious" that debuted at the South by Southwest Festival. Recent films include "Sitka: A Piano Documentary" (sitkadoc.com) about the craftsmanship of Steinway pianos, and "Quartet for the End of Time" (quatuor.xyz) about Olivier Messiaen’s transcendent WWII composition, that premiered on the commemorative date and at the place where the imprisoned composer first debuted his work. Moon's latest film, an award-winning feature-length documentary about the life and music of American composer Samuel Barber (samuelbarberfilm.com) recently premiered on PBS, and he is currently finishing another documentary feature about Western folklife, cowboy poetry, and the American frontier (westdocumentary.com). Excerpted poetry films from that project have appeared in museum exhibitions, and numerous film festivals, leading up to the feature film's completion. Ongoing projects include an opera film based on Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" (scroogeopera.com), a documentary at the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation (95thesesfilm.com), and a biographical portrait of Whittaker Chambers.

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Director Statement

I created this documentary in Washington, D.C. with "The President's Own" U.S. Marine Band, the oldest music ensemble in the United States. It tells the story of a piece that French composer Olivier Messiaen wrote and premiered on January 15, 1941 inside a World War II prisoner camp, after being captured by the Nazis. This film coincides with the 75th Anniversary of that debut. As a completely independent production, I created it to pay tribute to the United States military (including the soldiers in my family), in friendship with European countries at a time when apocalyptic themes remain timeless, and when our countries have renewed their alliance in the face of recent tragedies. Combining archival footage from the war, visual art, scenic cinematography, interviews, rehearsal and performance, this film documents an especially serendipitous performance of this transcendent work, by members of the very military who helped to liberate Europe. It premiered on the commemorative date and at the actual location of Stalag VIII-A where the imprisoned composer first debuted his work.