Owen Gleiberman
February 06, 2008 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Silence Before Bach

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
runtime
102 minutes
Limited Release Date
01/30/08
performer
Feodor Atkins, Christian Brembeck
director
Pere Portabella
author
Xavier Alberti, Pere Portabella, Carles Santos
genre
musical

We gave it a B

It opens with the glorious paradox of a player piano tinkling out the crystalline chords of the Goldberg Variations — music so rapt yet mathematical that this rigid ”performance” of it carries as much soul as Glenn Gould’s. From there, The Silence Before Bach, a series of vignettes and sketches directed by the 78-year-old Pere Portabella, is a hit-or-miss meditation on J.S. Bach’s music and the leap it embodied. The film’s intensity comes and goes, yet it knows exactly how to listen to Bach — as our single greatest channeler of God. B

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