Early Music Film Festival at BAMPFA

The Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive’s (BAMPFA) Early Music film series includes two distinctive interpretations of Handel’s theatrical music: His oratorio L’Allegro, il penseroso ed il moderato, brilliantly reimagined and choreographed by Mark Morris, and his opera Admeto, re di Tessaglia, transposed to a Japanese samurai and Butoh dance setting by Doris Dörrie. Also featured are three fictionalized accounts of the lives of composers Jean-Baptiste Lully, Marin Marais, and J. S. Bach. Each narrative treatment is radically different from the next—from the lavish excess of Gérard Corbiau’s Le roi danse to the detailed naturalism of Alain Corbeau’s Tous les matins du monde, to the perfect austerity of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet’s The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach. This thematic series offers filmgoers and Baroque music aficionados alike a fine selection of cinema that exalts and reflects upon great composers and their works.

Vincent Bataillon (United States, 2014)

Thursday, May 26 7 PM
Wednesday, June 08 2 PM
Free Admission

Bataillon_L-Allegro-il-Penseroso-ed-il-Moderato_001Mark Morris is well loved by Bay Area patrons for the remarkable live performances that he has presented at Cal Performances over the years. His full-length dance staging of George Frideric Handel’s oratorio L’allegro, il penseroso ed il moderato in Madrid was captured on film by Vincent Bataillon in 2014. An extraordinary achievement that celebrates the pictorial beauty of this glorious work through inspired choreography and set design, this production is a tremendous meeting of talent—Handel, John Milton, Mark Morris—performed under the baton of Jane Glover and the Teatro Real Orchestra and Chorus, Madrid. Sheer delight!
Photographed by Cécile Trelluyer. Music by George Frideric Handel, after poems by John Milton, adapted by Charles Jennens and James Harris. Choreographed by Mark Morris. With Teatro Real Orchestra and Chorus conducted by Jane Glover and the Mark Morris Dance Group. (In English, 97 mins, Color, Blu-ray, From WNET)

Gérard Corbiau (France, 2000) IMPORTED PRINT (The King Is Dancing).

Sunday, May 29 7:30 PM
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Corbiau_Le-roi-danse_001This lavish costume drama set in seventeenth-century France, which uses considerable poetic license, is told through the eyes of court composer Jean-Baptiste
Lully. It offers a vivid illustration of a young Louis XIV, who used his love of dance to project his image to the world and strengthen his hold on power. Lully and playwright Molière create elaborately choreographed ballets, featuring the young Louis, who transforms himself from the young dauphin into the Sun King. Gérard Corbiau’s film conveys the splendor of court life more than fact and features music performed by Reinhard Goebel and Musica Antiqua Köln.
Written by Eve de Castro, Andrée Corbiau, Gérard Corbiau. Photographed by Gérard Simon. Music by Jean-Baptiste Lully. With Benoît Magimel, Boris Terral, Tchéky Karyo, Colette Emmanuelle.
(In French with English subtitles, 109 mins, Color, 35mm, From Tamasa Distribution)

Alain Corneau (France, 1991)

Thursday, June 09 2 PM
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Corneau_Tout-les-matins-du-monde_001Winner of seven César Awards, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Music
(All the Mornings of the World). Alain Corneau’s fictional account of eminent musician Marin Marais is set, with a keen attention to historical period, in the France of Louis XIV. Marais reflects on his earlier life, when he tried to become a pupil of composer and violist Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe; actors Gérard Depardieu and Guillaume Depardieu are cast as the aging Marais and his younger self. Throughout the film, we hear viol music from the period performed by Jordi Savall, who received a César for his performance. “A reserved and elegant portrait colored by dark, romantic longing” (New York Times).
Written by Corneau and Pascal Quignard. Photographed by Yves Angelo. Music by Marin Marais. With Jean-Pierre Marielle, Gérard Depardieu, Anne Brochet, Guillaume Depardieu. (In French with English subtitles, 110 mins, Color, 35mm, From StudioCanal)

Paul Hegeman (Netherlands, 2012) BAY AREA PREMIERE!

Friday, June 10 1 PM
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Hegeman_Live-to-be-a-hundred_001An intimate portrait of the early music specialist Ton Koopman, whose talents include conducting, playing harpsichord and organ, teaching, and research. Filmmaker Paul Hegeman follows the energetic Koopman during rehearsals and performances with the Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra & Choir, at the University of Leiden, and while traveling as a guest conductor in France and Spain. His accomplished spouse, harpsichordist Tini Mathot, who collaborates closely with Koopman in recital and as a recording producer, shares her thoughts on Koopman’s inspirational interpretation of Baroque period composers. Viol specialist and longtime friend Jordi Savall appears in performance with Koopman.
Photographed by Paul Hegeman, Peter Sieben. With Ton Koopman, Tini Mathot, Jordi Savall.
(67 mins, Color, Blu-ray, From the artist)

Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet (Germany, 1968) IMPORTED PRINT

Friday, June 10 2:30 PM
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Straub_Chronicle-of-Anna-Magdalena-Bach_001 (Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach). A film about the music of J. S. Bach, played and conducted by the famous Dutch harpsichordist Gustav Leonhardt, who impersonates Bach in Straub and Huillet’s fictional tableaux. The story of Bach’s pursuit of his art is chronicled by his second wife in the form of letters, documents, and contemporary engravings, and in Bach’s own words. The film is the antithesis of the usual sentimental musical biography. Straub and Huillet’s deliberately flat presentation reveals the miraculous and the sublime in Bach’s great music with tremendous power. Playing the players (and the music) in this well-researched chronicle are the members of the Concertus Musicus Wien.

Written by Straub, Huillet. Photographed by Ugo Piccone, Saverio Diamanti, Giovanni Canfarelli. Music by Johann Sebastian Bach. With Gustav Leonhardt, Christiane Lang.
(94 mins, In German with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm, From TIFF Cinematheque)

Agnes Méth (Germany, 2009) BAY AREA PREMIERE!

Wednesday, June 15 7 PM
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Meth_Admeto_001German filmmaker, producer, and author Doris Dörrie staged this vividly colored, highly stylized production of George Frideric Handel’s three-act opera Admeto, re di Tessaglia, transposing the original Greek setting to the world of Japanese samurai and Butoh dance. (The storyline is based on that of Euripides’ Alcestis.) Butoh provides the production with its underlying motif, offering the characters greater dimension, mystery, and occasional irony. Bay Area early music fans will especially appreciate the performance conducted by Nicholas McGegan with players David Tayler (archlute) and Hanneke van Proosdij (harpsichord).
Libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym or Paolo Antonio Rolli, after L’Antigona delusa da Alceste by Aurelio Aureli. Photographed by Roland Mayer. Music by George Frideric Handel. With Mamu Dance Theatre and FestspielOrchester Göttingen, conducted by Nicholas McGegan.
(In German with English subtitles, 181 mins, Color, Blu-ray, Permission Unitel)

2155 Center Street, Berkeley
General information: 510-642-0808

BAMPFA Tickets

General admission: $12
BAMPFA members; UC Berkeley students: $7
UC Berkeley faculty, staff, retirees; non-UC Berkeley students; 65+; 18 & under; disabled persons: $10
Additional Feature: $5
Free gallery admission with same-day film ticket.
Prices vary for some special programs, including film festivals and film courses. Consult for details.