Tag Archives: Adriano Aprà

Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub – Les yeux ne veulent pas en tout temps se fermer, ou Peut-être qu’un jour Rome se permettra de choisir à son tour AKA Eyes Do Not Want to Close at All Times or Perhaps One Day Rome Will Permit Herself to Choose in Her Turn AKA Othon (1970)

Quote:
Straub-Huillet’s first color film, Othon (Les yeux ne veulent pas en tout temps se fermer, ou Peut-être qu’un jour Rome se permettra de choisir à son tour) adapts a lesser-known Corneille tragedy from 1664, which in turn was based on an episode of imperial court intrigue chronicled in Tacitus’s Histories. The costuming is classical, and the toga-clad, nonprofessional cast performs the drama’s original French text amid the ruins of Rome’s Palatine Hill while the noise of contemporary urban life hums in the background. Their lines are executed with a terrific flatness and frequently through heavy accents; the language in Othon becomes not merely an expression but a thing itself, an element whose plainness here alerts us to qualities of the work that might otherwise be subordinated. “If at every moment one can keep one’s eyes and ears open to all of this,” Straub wrote, “it’s possible to even find the film thrilling and note that everything here is information—even the purely sensual reality of the space which the actors leave empty at the end of each act. Read More »

Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub – Fortini / Cani (1976)

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Synopsis :
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. Read More »

Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub – Othon (1970)

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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 Read More »