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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Movie, A Real Must For Anyone Who Loves Bach, May 11, 2013
By 
Jacqueline M Mraz (Los Angeles, California US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub - 3 Film Collection - 2-DVD Set ( Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach / Sicilia! / Une visite au Louvre ) ( The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach / S [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - United Kingdom ] (DVD)
I love this movie. It is easy to see why Pedro Costa and others have put Huillet & Straub in the spotlight of intense and enduring affection. Huillet and Straub held out for a very long time so that Gustav Leonhardt could play Bach. Big money in the movie business wanted others to play that role. That was a useful hold out. Leonhardt is outstanding.

It is funny to hear Leonhardt's Dutch accent coming through as he speaks German. Just as funny as it was for me in the late 1980s to hear Dutch cellist Anner Bylsma teach the Dvorak cello concerto with a baroque aesthetic. That is great Dutch humor in the case of each of Leonhardt and Bylsma. The Dutch have as keen a sense of irony as anyone. This might be exactly what the film makers had in mind, and why they wanted Leonhardt.

Whenever I see this film I think about the matter of exile, which is something that Huillet and Straub know a lot about. They were exiles, in a way, even when they lived in France. They always bear the esthetic of an outsider, just like the superb Armenian photographer Karsh.

So sorry Obama removed the bust of Churchill from the White House. I am sure Karsh lovers know that all one has to do is to go online and look at Karsh's picture of Churchill to make up for that Fauxbama ploy.

The cinematography here is beautiful. It shares much with the best Hungarian experimental film from the 1960s. I doubt that that is happenstance.

My one regret is that the subtitles in English are not good. This may be on purpose. Godard has certainly done that. Bad English subtitles are fine if one can understand German. However, if one can't, it is difficult to get a lot out of the film other than absolute enjoyment of the music and of the cinematography.

The film is noteworthy, also, because it portends great things to come. One can sense political, visual and other hallmarks of Huillet's and Straub's masterful "Sicilia, Sicilia" in this film on Bach. Only Straub Huillet could do that. Only these film makers could use a Dutchman to play Bach and connect the dots to labor issues at a much later date in Sicily. Brilliant. Hats off to amazing art.
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