Satiesfictions: Promenades with Erik Satie

A Tribute to the French composer Erik Satie

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Program notes

The music documentary Satiesfictions is a playful portrait of Erik Satie as cultural phenomenon. True to its name, the film weaves together the tale of Satie’s musical and non-musical fictions, exploring projects like his fun home-made advertisements that evolved into real commercials, or his drawings of jetliners and swaying hotels that ultimately came to life as real cartoons.

Remembered for his bowlers, wisecracks and various other quirks, Satie is likely one of the strangest and most versatile personalities in French music history: in addition to his work as a composer, he was a designer, church founder, PR pioneer, author, wayfarer, professional self-publicist and inventor of "Musique d’ameublement."

Music à la Satie turns performers into "musical furniture" in swimming pools, factories or train stations, has aging divas to forget their performances and gives even four-legged animals–or just their bones—their spot in the limelight. Pianists perform using instruments stacked on top of each other, sometimes while covered in snowflakes. Natural landscapes, scenes from daily life and urbanistic impressions mix together in Satie’s cosmos of word and sound.

The film’s depiction of Erik Satie’s world is peppered with eyewitness accounts and interviews with Satie experts. The filmmakers alternate between outlining the artist’s colorful personality and drawing their own picture of the early 20th century French avant-garde’s most unusual character.

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