Since its debut in 1824, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, especially its “Ode to Joy” choral finale, has become a rallying anthem for the oppressed and disenfranchised worldwide. That’s the premise of Kerry Candaele’s documentary “Following the Ninth: In the Footsteps of Beethoven’s Final Symphony” (2013), which begins a two-week run Dec. 20 at the Gene Siskel Film Center. The documentary examines the symphony’s artistic, cultural and political impact “across five continents and 10 countries, from Tiananmen Square to the Berlin Wall, tracing the ways in which its grand, soaring melody and inspiring words of peace, tolerance and love have sustained hope in a manner that few works of art have ever achieved.”

For more about “Following the Ninth,” go to the film’s official site.