"The Silence Before Bach," the Spanish documentary on the music of Johann Sebastian Bach, is the next featured film in the Cinema Series at the 1891 Fredonia Opera House. It will be screened as a kick-off to the annual Bach & Beyond Baroque Music Festival one night only on Satuday at 8 p.m.
"The Silence Before Bach" presents a series of vignettes, some scripted, some documentary-style, of people who have been influenced by or are playing the music of J.S. Bach. Using Bach's music as the central theme, the film depicts ways in which the music appears in the most unexpected places of everyday life on a moving subway car taken over by a group of several dozen young cellists who play Bach's music rapturously, for example; or as two Spanish truck drivers discuss the finer points of Bach's compositions. "Bach's music is the only thing that reminds us the world is not a failure," says one interviewee in the film.
Directed by Catalan filmmaker Pere Portabella, the film is a meditation on life and its connection to classical music. The film, with its interconnected images and fragmented narrative, has been likened to the films of Luis Bunuel.
Ty Burr, in the Boston Globe, calls the film "a movie in which to take refuge. It abjures the summer heat of pop culture for a cool and lasting immersion in the miracles that people are and can create."
V.A. Musetto, in the New York Post, says the film "provides gorgeous lensing and art direction (set to) some of the world's most beautiful music."
Manohla Dargis, of the New York Times, says "like the music it celebrates, this is a film made in glory of the world."
Unrated, "The Silence Before Bach" is in Spanish and German with English subtitles and runs 102 minutes.
The Opera House Cinema Series is sponsored by Lake Shore Savings Bank. Tickets to the Series are available at the door for $7 (adults), $6.50 (seniors & Opera House members) and $5 (students) the night of each screening. For more information, call the Opera House Box Office at 679-1891.
Chautauqua County's only performing arts center presenting its own programming year-round, the 1891 Fredonia Opera House is a member-supported not-for-profit organization located in Village Hall in downtown Fredonia. For a complete schedule of events, visit www.fredopera.org.