Ich Armer Mensch - I, Wretched Man
Panorama | Vanguard
A man, caught in a vicious cycle of self-accusation and self-pity, tries to find relief by surrendering to a higher entity. Swiss tenor August Schram performs an operatic staging of Bach’s Cantata No. 55, augmented by the ancient tradition of Kinbaku, the Japanese art of bondage, which provides an additional layer of open-ended symbolism to this mesmerizing piece. This is a daring film in many ways, resembling a religious painting come to life as the repentant man goes about his day, while offering an interesting interpretation of this expression of Christian faith. The music is unerringly beautiful, and the slow build of daily tasks, of the bindings increasing, and of the lyrics make for an intense sensory experience. This marvelous film encourages a multiplicity of legitimate readings of meaning and symbolism to be taken from this work by one of the great classical composers.