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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. Written by
Mike D'Angelo <email@example.com>
Gustav Leonhardt portrays Bach in his only performance as an actor. He is a music scholar of International renown, specialized in the works of Johann Sebastian Bach, and a harpsichord virtuoso whose Bach recordings (both as harpsichord player and conductor) are the finest to be found in recording History. See more »
"Dogmatic," as another reviewer described this film, is a fitting word. The director's idea was to present Bach without plot, acting, fun, theatrics, dialog, narrative, or drama. Mission accomplished, Monsieur Straub. "Pretentious?" Yes. "Cinematic?" No way. This is anti-cinema. No one moves. Hardly anyone talks. The camera holds static shots for 10-12 minutes at a time: very very occasionally the camera will dolly in. You may catch a glimpse of Gustav Leonhardt's fingers moving over the keys. That's it.
If you like the idea of staring at the back of a harpsichordist's (bewigged) head for 7 minutes at a stretch while listening to Bach, this is the film for you. I'd rather listen to Bach on my stereo with my eyes closed.
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