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3.8
1,159 Ratings

Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach

Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach

West Germany, Italy, 1968
Drama, Biography, History

Synopsis

A chronicle of Johann Sebastian Bach’s life, using correspondences and texts written by the composer, and read by his wife, Anna Magdalena Bach. Eschewing drama to focus almost entirely on his music, it consists largely of expansive scenes of Bach conducting or playing his brilliant compositions.

Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach Directed by Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub
All that is Straub-Huillet is there in Bach: The curious vitality of technically unaffected performers. The reverence for a text’s (or in this case, piece of music’s) essence. The unpredictable, stop-start rhythm of the montage, determined more by the constituents of a shot than narrative flow. The structural excisions born of remarkable changes to the source text.
April 15, 2019
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Where most biopics get weighed down with the familiar rise-and-fall narrative, here there is just the music, played beautifully in real time by Gustav Leonhardt.
June 17, 2018
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What struck me the most in seeing the film again after more than 30 years are the remarkable and dynamic shot compositions that Straub/Huillet use. Their treatment of screen space here is complex—they create a space that feels simultaneously ordered and bordering on chaos. Their articulation of space and geometry and composition is surprising and slightly unsettling.
May 25, 2018
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