Description: In 1989 Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet realized a film project that was commissioned by Virginie Herbin, director of the audiovisual department of the Musée d’Orsay. The film is based on Joachim Gasquet’s recollected and imagined dialogs with Cézanne, Ce qui m’a dit…(1921).
A montage comprising paintings by the artist, footage shot at the foot of Mont Sainte-Victoire and film scenes from both Jean Renoir’s Madame Bovary and the Straub’s The Death of Empedocles. The film is an homage to light, color, painting, nature, cinema and the terrible and glorious world of reality. Continue reading
The film is a sort of presentation of Franco Fortini’s book ‘I Cani del Sinai’. Fortini, an Italian Jew, reads excerpts from the book about his alienation from Judaism and from the social relations around him, the rise of Fascism in Italy, the anti-Arab attitude of European culture. The images, mostly a series of Italian landscape shots, provide a backdrop that highlights the meaning of the text. Continue reading
D’après La Question paysanne en France et en Allemagne et une lettre à karl Kautsky de Friedrich Engels et de La lutte des classes en Egyptes de 1945 à 1968 de Mahmoud Hussein.
Film en deux parties dont la première est consacrée à la France, la seconde à l’Egypte. Sur les images de la campagne bretonne est lu un texte de Hengels décrivant la misère des paysans en 1789. Pour l’Egypte, c’est un texte de l’historien Mahmoud Hussein sur la lutte des classes dans ce pays depuis Bonaparte jusqu’au règne de Sadate. Continue reading
Klassenverhältnisse, known in English as “Class Relations” is based on Franz Kafka’s unfinished first novel, Der Verschollene.
The story describes the bizarre wanderings of a 17-year-old European emigrant named Karl Rossmann in Amerika… Continue reading
Noted modernist German filmmakers Daniele Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub are behind this evocative minimalist retelling of the tragic story of Empedocles, a Greek philosopher and statesman who lived in the fourth century BC. To prove himself a god and therefore, immortal, Empedocles hurled himself into the burning caldera of Mount Etna and survived. There are four slightly different versions of the film available.
Based on the novel Le Donne di Messina by Elio Vittorini (1949).
A group of men and women gather together by chance after World War II when Italy was in the process of rebuilding. These men and women find themselves in the middle of ruins. They build a community where they try to protect themselves against hunger, violence, pain, and fear. Continue reading
Straub examines the process by which events enter our cultural mainstream, and the process by which their use as part of a communications system is transformed into Culture. Corneille’s play of political intrigue in Late Empire Rome is used as a base. The text speaks of individual power games outside any social context. Straub perches his actors in togas on the Capitoline Hill in broad daylight. He treats Corneille’s words as an undifferentiated block of sound (the actors gabble expressionlessly), and interweaves it with birdsong, traffic noises, the loud splashing of a fountain. A dialectic is set up between the abstraction of the actors’ speech and the intimacy of their presence on screen; and between the actors as actors and the actors as play characters, between the actuality of the past and our use of it, with light and colour changes taking on some of the functions of intonation in speech. The film can be mesmeric or irritating: irritating if one tries to force it into fulfilling preconceived notions of plot and character, mesmeric if one trusts the film-maker to lead one into fresh areas of perception. – Time Out Continue reading