A chronicle of Johann Sebastian Bach’s life, eschewing drama to focus almost entirely on his music. Narrated by his wife Anna in voiceover, it consists largely of static scenes of Bach conducting and/or playing his brilliant compositions.
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A huge disappointment for those who seek the explanation of major artistic achievement in the socio-political environment of an age, this beautiful film about music situates its vantage point in the epicentre of Bach`s life: music. Wordless majesty is left to speak alone, with occasional interstices of speech. The shift of perspective is uncompromising: music is the grand watercourse of existence, while events of...
With Sicilia! (1999), this is the best introduction to the challenging and imposing oeuvres of Straub-Huillet. (They'are so challenging that i need to re-watch at least 5 times every films i've seen by them, lol.)
I admire this movie very much for its total abstention from counter-revolutionary bullshit of any kind, but I would like to listen to The Stooges now, if that's okay. (rating provisional--watched the fuzzy Netflix copy, can tell this thing needs complete visual clarity to be fully appreciated)
You don't need to make a life's story "cinematic". The only fiction needed is some dramatic scenes and a fictitious diary. Let the composer's music be played in full. Place biographical information in when felt necessary. The result here is an exceptional film.
An exercise, a theoretical excursus, an explicitly intellectual undertaking, nonetheless pulsing w/ aesthetic rewards, of which Bach's music itself constitutes the core element. Indeed what this movie demonstrates is music performed not only in recreated social space, but in an explicitly social context. Even the most transcendent art is produced within an explicable context, generally somewhat oppressive.
[Cinémathèque PT #666: 35 mm] (2008) 6 6 6 : the devil. Devil: Gustav Leonhardt - harpsichord virtuoso that specialized in the works of Johann Sebastian Bach. Saw him play live in a church in Sesimbra. A memory for life.