Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub – Quei loro incontri AKA These Encounters of Theirs (2006)
In the last feature-length collaboration between Straub and Huillet before Huillet’s death in 2006, villagers from across the length of Italy — a peasant, a postmaster, a theater director, a mayor, a rope maker — gather in the Tuscan countryside to recite the five final scenes of Cesare Pavese’s Dialogues with Leucò.
Published in 1947, just two years after the Holocaust and the Second World War and two years before Pavese’s suicide, the Dialogues offer a series of meditations on human destiny, both comical and tragic, between ancient Greek mythological figures. Desperate in their hunger for immortality, mortals are blind to the gift of being human — of their ability to experience joy and suffering; to feel a passing breeze or the touch of another body; to name, remember, and act.
The last scene in QUEI LORO INCONTRI at the end of the five dialogs follows the unwavering stare of the hunter who has fallen quiet. What is he staring at? At the silent image that is to come. The gods have spoken and everything they have said is echoed in the silence. The last take shows the dry streambed and then pans slowly towards the road, where a man is passing by on his scooter. Will the camera pause so that we can see him crossing the screen? It’s left to chance. A roll of the dice: the camera crosses the horizontal course of the scooter as though it had been thrown vertically into the air and marks the encounter with a brief pause. Then the camera continues to rise, stopping at a power line that cuts across the image, separating the earth from the sky. The blue cannot fill the screen. Beneath the line that divides the image the landscape remains. If the camera continued its upward travel, we would drown in the view. But we have gone as high as we can go. We have understood. We remain with the landscape and the experience of tristesse, as Cesare Pavese puts it: “But they wouldn’t be men if they weren’t miserable.” (Jean-Claude Rousseau)
1.18GB | 1h 05m | 693×542 | mkv