The film is a set of exactly repeated actions, but each time using different objects. It uses the structure of the fugue to create the films narrative, playing on the fugues characteristic of stating the subject in different voices.
Fugue in A major by Dmitri Shostakovich is a very interesting piece as it contains no harmonic dissonance at all. The Fugue was an outlier in a larger collection of Preludes and Fugues which at the time was panned by critics for being very harsh and dissonant.
The piece was written in 1950’s Russia under Stalin’s regime and might have been a veiled criticism where any less subtle forms of criticism could have been very dangerous. Shostakovich had already been denounced for political incorrectness in 1948 by the communist party chairman, Andrei Zhdanov and lived under a persistent fear of the numerous purges that were taking place across Russia at that time.
The piece is performed by Sviatoslav Ricther in 1956 in Prague.