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 »
The harpsichord music we hear in the opening scene bears no relation to the movement of the harpsichordist's fingers - he is playing a completely different piece. See more »
I'd like to offer a rebuttal to some of the negative comments about this movie. I, too, noticed the same things that turned off the others
the lack of typical plot, dialog, and drama. In fact, halfway through
the movie, i was having a hard time staying focused. But then I started to get it. After the movie was over, I watched the "Making of..." documentary that was on the DVD. It was only then that I truly understood. The director Straub, a refugee from Algeria, living in Germany. A 10 year quest to make the movie. Everything was dogmatically intentional. He wanted the performances to be shown statically. He believed if one was to listen to a 7 minute piece of music, all the drama should be derived from the music, not the cinematic arts. All sound was location, the musicians are the highest caliber - everything played on screen. What movies today could boast of that? Also, he said he wanted it to be as much a documentary about the virtuoso Leonhardt who plays Bach, as it was about Bach. To him, a long shot on the face of the performer was all one needed to experience the ecstasy of Bach. Remember, too, this is 1967 Germany. He was trying to avoid all nationalism, and was glad to have a Dutchman play Bach. I think looking at this movie through the eyes of today's short attention-spanned, explosion thirsty movie-going POV is ignorant. I doubt many of those people could even sit through a 7 minute piece of music. Straub was 30 years ahead of his time. Anyone who appreciates the Dogma95 should understand. Finally, I see that he and his wife had been making movies together for over 40 years, until Danièle died last fall. My condolences, Mr. Straub. This is one person you have reached.
38 of 42 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?