J.S. Bach

1986, 28:25 min, color, sound

Resonating with a melancholy poetry, J.S. Bach is a subjective essay that merges a reflection on identity and the creative process with a lyrical documentary on the life of Johann Sebastian Bach. Shot in the wintry landscapes of Bach's native East Germany, this densely layered, nuanced work intertwines biography with Downey's personal visual and verbal commentary. Three nonlinear narrative strands function as a spoken fugue, while three compositions provide the musical "voice" of Bach. The tripartite structure — Death, Flashback, and Counterpoint — and complex, associative visual strategies function as a compositional analogy to Bach's own musical principles of equal temperament and counterpoint — the "organization of multiple melodies into a clear, rhythmic and harmonic relation." This fourth part of The Thinking Eye series was termed a "stunningly beautiful video... a profound vision under masterful technical control," by the L.A. Weekly.

Performers: Giorgy Sandor, Elaine Camparone, St. Thomas Church Choir and Cantor. With: Guillermo Labarca, Steve Meyers, Carol Dines. Script Consultant: Lisa Krueger. Text: Albert Schweitzer. Camera: Jaime Barrios, Kirk Von Heflin. Editor: Marcelo Navarro. Music/Audio: Bob Schott. Assistant Producer: Carlos Puccio. Associate Producer: Marilys B. De Downey. Video Engineer: Rick Feist.


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