Preferred Citation: Byg, Barton. Landscapes of Resistance: The German Films of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1995 1995.


3— Traces of a Life:Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach

1. Chronicle won the German film critics' prize (Bambi), was screened at "critics' week" in Cannes, and won the Grand Prize at the festivals in London and Prades (all 1968).

2. Anticipating the continued use of siblings in acting roles, as in Empedocles and Antigone , this actor is the sister of Renate Lang, who played Inn in Machorka-Muff .

3. Roy Armes, "Jean-Marie Straub: Strict Counterpoint," in The Ambiguous Image (London: Secker and Warburg, 1976), 211, 212.

4. For English translations of such documents, see Hans T. David and Arthur Mendel, eds., The Bach Reader: A Life of Johann Sebastian Bach in Letters and Documents (New York: W. W. Norton, 1966).

5. See Esther Meynell, The Little Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (Boston: E. C. Schirmer, 1934). The book was first published anonymously in 1925 and was also published in Germany without the author's name: Die Kleine Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach (Reutlingen: Bertelsmann, 1957). Examples of events from Meynell's chronicle that appear in the film include Bach's discourse on the virtues of the basso continuo (113); the acoustic marvels of the Apollo-Saal in the Berlin Opera (118); the co-rector who "turned out Krause in the middle of a hymn and put Küttler in his place" (127); the wording of Bach's intransigence--"He would not retract anything in the matter, let it cost what it might" (128); the origins of "A Musical Offering" during Bach's visit to Potsdam, where the monarch played a theme for him "and Sebastian proceeded to develop it in his own learned and incomparable manner, to the great astonishment and admiration of the King" (170-171). Although these are documents used by both Meynell and Straub/Huillet, it is plausible that the 1957 publication brought the filmmakers to think of using them in the film.

6. Peter W. Jansen and Wolfram Schütte, eds., Herzog/Kluge/Straub (Munich: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1976), 205. Cited hereafter as HKS .

7. Most of the information on the attempts to produce Chronicle, Machorka-Muff , and Not Reconciled is drawn from the following: Rainer Rother, "Das mühsame Geschäft des Filmemachens: Zur Entstehungsgeschichte von Machorka-Muff und Nicht versöhnt oder Es hilft nur Gewalt, wo Gewalt herrscht ," in Machorka-Muff: Jean-

Marie Straub und Danièle Huillets Verfilmung einer Satire von Heinrich Böll , ed. Reinhold Rauh (Münster: MAKS, 1988), 65-78; "Andi Engel Talks to Jean-Marie Straub," Cinemantics 1 (1 January 1970):16-23; and Uwe Nettelbeck, "Plädoyer für ein Projekt: Der Fall Jean-Marie Straub," Die Zeit , 14 October 1966.

8. Cahiers du cinéma 180 (July 1966):57.

9. Ibid.

10. See "Andi Engel Talks to Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet Is There Too," Enthusiasm 1 (December 1975):1.

11. "Engel Talks to Straub," 17.

12. Ibid.; "Engel Talks to Straub and Huillet," 2.

13. "Engel Talks to Straub," 16.

14. See Nettelbeck, "Plädoyer für ein Projekt"; Filmkritik 12 (1966):662; and Filmkritik 3 (1967):122.

15. " Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach " [Interview with Jean-Marie Straub], Film (April 1968):25. Hereafter cited as Film .

16. Ibid.

17. Ibid.

18. See Philippe Sollers on anti-Fascism and pop culture in the 1950s: "Why the United States?" in The Kristeva Reader , ed. Toril Moi (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986), 283-284.

19. Klaus Eder, "Der wiedergefundene Barock," Film (April 1968):28; Straub refers to the "Gesetzeshüter" in the video portrait by Michael Klier.

20. "Engel Talks to Straub and Huillet," 1.

21. Film , 25.

22. Ibid.

23. Ibid., 27.

24. Michael Gielen has described the care with which Straub/Huillet planned the cuts from shot to shot in Moses and Aaron (see chap. 7).

25. For the screenplay, see Jean-Marie Straub, Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach (Frankfurt am Main: Verlag Filmkritik, 1969).

The excerpts from the works performed are the following:

1. Brandenburg Concerto no. 5 (BWV 1050), Allegro I, measures 147-227, harpsichord and orchestra, 1720-1721

2. Clavierbüchlein for Wilhelm Friedemann Bach, Prelude VI(BWV 928), clavichord, 1720

3. Clavierbüchlein for Anna Magdalena Bach, Minuet II of the Suite in D Minor (French Suite I, BWV 812), spinet, 1722

4. Adagio of the Sonata no. 2 in D Major (BWV 1028), viola da gamba and harpsichord obligato, c. 1720

5. Largo of the Trio Sonata no. 2 in C Minor (BWV 526), organ, 1727

6. "Magnificat" in D Major (BWV 243), nos. 11 and 12 to measure 19, 1728-1731

7. Clavierbüchlein for Anna Magdalena Bach, Tempo di gavotta of the Partita in E Minor (BWV 830), spinet, 1725

8 . Cantata (BWV 205), "Der zufriedengestellte Äolus," 1725

9 . Trauer Ode (BWV 198), final chorus, 1727

10 . Cantata (BWV 244a), "Funeral Music for Prince Leopold," measure 25 to the end, 1729

11 . St. Matthew Passion (BWV 244), initial chorus, 1736

12 . Cantata (BWV 42), introductory sinfonia (Da capo of measures 1-53 and recitative for tenor: "Am Abend aber desselbigen Sabbats"), 1725

13 . Prelude for organ in B Minor (BWV 544), first part, 1727-1731

14 . First Kyrie of the B Minor Mass for Chorus and Orchestra (BWV 232), measures 1-30, 1731-1733

15 . Cantata (BWV 215), "Preise dein Glücke, gesegnetes Sachsen," initial chorus, measures 1-181, 1734

16 . Ascension Oratorio (BWV 11), final chorus, second part, 1735

17 . Usual Latin Sunday motet for the 11th Sunday after Trinity, from the Florilegium Portens of Erhard Bodenschatz, in eight parts, by Leone Leoni

18 . Chorale "Kyrie, Gott heiliger Geist" (BWV 671), from the third part of the Clavierübung, organ, 1739

19 . Italian Concerto (BWV 971), andante, 1735

20 . Cantata (BWV 140), "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme," first duet, measures 1-36, 1731

21 . Goldberg Variations (BWV 988), 25th variation, clavecin, 1741-1742

22 . Cantata (BWV 82), "Ich habe genug," last recitative and last aria, 1727

23 . Musical Offering (BWV 1079), Ricercar a 6, measures 1-39, harpsichord, 1747

24 . Art of the Fugue (BWV 1080), Contrapunctus xix, measures 193-239, harpsichord, 1750

25 . Chorale (BWV 668), "Vor deinen Thron tret ich," first part, organ, 1750

26. Maureen Turim, " Ecriture Blanche : The Ordering of the Filmic Text in The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach," Purdue Film Studies Annual (1976): 177.

27. Ibid.

28. I have adjusted Turim's shot numbers to correspond to the published screenplay.

29. Turim, " Ecriture Blanche ," 180.

30. Turim cites Eisenstein's essay "The Music of Landscape," published in installments in Cahiers du cinéma , 211 (April 1969) to 219 (April 1970), as the best theoretical source for analysis of the "counterpoint" of this film but also argues that the tension created by Straub/Huillet's editing exceeds Eisenstein's "montage of attractions"; Turim, " Ecriture Blanche ," 184-185. See Sergei Eisenstein, "The Music of Landscape and the Fate of Montage Counterpoint at a New Stage,'' in Nonindifferent Nature , trans. Herbert Marshall (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987), 216-396.

31. Turim, " Ecriture Blanche ," 189.

32. Joachim Kaiser, "Respekt, Spiel, Freiheit: Zu drei Filmen über Musik: Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach, Eika Katappa, Ludwig van. . ." Fernsehen und Film 2, no. 2 (August 1970):28.

33. Friedrich Hommel, "Le Martyr de Saint-Jean-Sébastien: Anmerkungen eines Musikkritikers zu Straubs Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach," Film (May 1968):31.

34. Kaiser, "Respekt, Spiel, Freiheit," 28.

35. Ibid.

36. Hommel, "Le Martyr de Saint-Jean-Sébastien," 31.

37. Kaiser, "Respekt, Spiel, Freiheit," 28.

38. Hommel, "Le Martyr de Saint-Jean-Sébastien," 31.

39. Texte zu den Kirchenkantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach/The Texts to Johann Sebastian Bach's Church Cantatas , trans. Z. Philip Ambrose (Neuhausen-Stuttgart: Hänssler-Verlag, 1984), 339.

40. Hommel, "Le Martyr de Saint-Jean-Sébastien," 31.

41. Kaiser, "Respekt, Spiel, Freiheit," 28.

42. Hommel, "Le Martyr de Saint-Jean-Sébastien," 31.

43. Turim, " Ecriture Blanche ," 183-184.

44. Frieda Grafe, "Ein deutsches Selbstporträt?" Filmkritik 2 (1966):144.

45. See shot 37, BWV 205, Straub, Chronik , 33.

46. "Gespräch mit Danièle Huillet und Jean-Marie Straub," Filmkritik 10 (1968): 688; Meynell, Little Chronicle , 59.

47. See Herbert Linder, "Kinder, aufgepaßt!" Filmkritik 10 (1968):710. On the Mitchell camera, see Film , 26.

48. This effect is reminiscent of Fritz Lang, for instance in the film Hangmen Also Die , with a script co-authored by Bertolt Brecht. A professor and Czech anti-Fascist, played by Walter Brennan, awaits execution in a prison cell. He is visited by his daughter, to whom he gives a moving speech on how he wants his death to be remembered, much in the tone of Brecht's poem "An die Nachgeborenen" (To Those Born After). The action into and out of the scene moves to and from a door seen to the left of the simple wooden chair in the center of the cell, where Brennan recites the speech. After his daughter leaves in this direction, the sound of soldiers approaching is heard, and one assumes they will soon arrive at this door (to the left) to take Brennan away. But at the end of the scene, the camera pans to the right to reveal a window, the presence of which was unknown before. The shock of this revelation gives the scene a powerful effect of the possibilities held by the unknown future--and even death.

49. Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach, Kleine Filmkunstreihe 81, ed. Herbert Linder (Frankfurt am Main: Neue Filmkunst, 1969), n.p. Hereafter cited as Kleine Filmkunstreihe .

50. "Gespräch," 689.

51. Film , 25.

52. Helmut Färber, "Im anschluß an das Protokoll der Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach," Filmkritik 10 (1968):695-703.

53. "Gespräch," 689-690.

54. Ibid., 690.

55. HKS , 210.

56. Meynell, Little Chronicle , 42.

57. Eder, "Der wiedergefundene Barock," 28.

58. Jörg Peter Feurich, "Tagebuch," Filmkritik 8 (1968):529.

59. Hommel, "Le Martyr de Saint-Jean-Sébastien," 31.

60. Feurich, "Tagebuch," 529.

61. Wolfram Schütte, Frankfurter Rundschau , 6 April 1968.

62. Ibid.

63. Feurich, "Tagebuch," 529.

64. Kleine Filmkunstreihe , n.p.

65. "Gespräch," 690.

66. Ibid.

67. Straub, Chronik , frontispiece.

68. Film , 26.

69. Kleine Filmkunstreihe , n.p.


Preferred Citation: Byg, Barton. Landscapes of Resistance: The German Films of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  c1995 1995.