Part of Music City Mondays.
Using letters Anna Magdalena Bach wrote to her husband, seminal composer Johann Sebastian, filmmakers Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet created one of the most precise, rewarding biopics ever put to screen. CHRONICLE OF ANNA MAGDALENA BACH’s intense emotional pull can be understood by its status as a musical film in the most thorough sense: its performances—staged as extended sequences set within the very spaces once occupied by Bach himself, with trained performers both donning and playing items accurate to the period—are immense, bringing us closer to the sound than was ever thought possible. Immaculately restored on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, this chronicle invites viewers to experience a bygone age.
“...A recording of magnificent music and a film of equally impressive contradictions. An impossible documentary, at once austere and rhapsodic, it evokes the 18th century while feeling as present as a live concert.” —J. Hoberman, New York Times "The net effect is not having seen a film but having lived a real moment, in the presence of monumental music. Is this a documentary, or a biopic, or something else we've never named?" —Michael Atkinson, Village Voice “Here is one of the rare period pieces that asks us to think about history, rather than imagine it. In a medium as suggestive as film, it’s a radical idea.” —Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, A.V. Club “The film conducts a dialogue between Bach as he survives in his music and Bach as he lived and worked, between enduringly beautiful music and the often worrying circumstances of its composition, between transcendent aesthetic experience and the constrictions of living in the world, between the autonomy of art and its embedment in history.” —Gilberto Perez, Film Comment
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