A powerful, almost surreal distillation of a story by Heinrich Böll, Straub-Huillet's debut work concerns a former Nazi colonel who takes advantage of his political and sexual status in post-war Germany.
Straub-Huillet's heralded feature debut eschews conventional form and storytelling to chart the origins and legacy of Nazism, as well as the moral demands of obedience and sacrifice within the German bourgeois family, in this vigorous adaptation of Heinrich Böll’s novel.
Using letters Anna Magdalena Bach wrote to her husband, Johann Sebastian, filmmakers Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet created one of the most precise, rewarding biopics ever put to screen. On the occasion of its 50th anniversary, this masterpiece has been immaculately restored.
Rainer Werner Fassbinder stars alongside his future collaborators — Hanna Scyhgulla, Irm Hermann, and Peer Raben — in this short, radical condensation of Ferdinand Bruckner’s 1926 play Pains of Youth that incorporates the screeds of Mao and May '68 protesters.
A faithful adaptation of Pierre Corneille’s Othon, the classic tragedy that premiered at the court of Louis XIV at Fontainebleau in 1664 and today is more hallowed than actually performed, Eyes do not want to close… depicts the power vacuum that followed Emperor Nero’s death.
This complex interpretation of Brecht’s unfinished novel The Business Affairs of Mr. Julius Caesar explores history as it has been written by the victors, with their hero worship of tyrannical leaders (whether Caesar or Hitler), and offers an alternate view of history writing as fractured and potentially revolutionary.
One of Straub-Huillet's major films, this adaptation of Schoenberg’s unfinished opera is a thrilling and rigorous consideration of Biblical and archaeological history; set almost entirely within a Roman amphitheater whose history lends every precise line-reading and gesture, every startling camera move and cut, a totalizing force.
Based on six mythological encounters in Cesar Pavese’s Dialogues with Leucò, and on Pavese’s last novel, The Moon and the Bonfires, about the savage murders of Italian anti-Fascist resistance fighters during World War II, this film bridges history and myth, modernity and antiquity.
Originally released on a double bill with Eric Rohmer’s Pauline at the Beach, a short about a precocious, determined nine-year-old boy, and a story concerning a rejection of all forms of authority, whether family, school, or nation.
Straub-Huillet's brilliant distillation of Franz Kafka’s incomplete first novel Amerika is perhaps the author's most authentically German treatment, and an ecstatic, haunted fever dream of the United States.
In Straub-Huillet’s mesmerizing adaptation of Hölderlin’s tragic poem, written during the outbreak of the French Revolution, Greek philosopher Empedocles — who possessed magical healing powers through his communion with the gods and nature — is at the point of death.
Empedocles debates Pausanias, his loyal disciple, about the divine powers of love and strife that govern all matter in this adaptation of the unfinished late-18th-century play by the German lyric poet Frederich Hölderlin.
The tragedy of Antigone loses none of its dramatic force across the centuries in this classic retelling by Straub-Huillet; its themes of bloodlust and blindness, wisdom and sacrifice, resonating ever more intensely after war and genocide.
The story, which Italo Calvino called a “choral narrative,” centers on a group of workers and peasants, many of them ordinary laborers and farmers, who rebuild their lives in the aftermath of the Second World War by reconstructing a destroyed village and forming a utopian community.
Straub-Huillet take as their inspiration the 1949 novel Women of Messina by the Sicilian writer Elio Vittorini, whose courageous wartime work in the underground Communist resistance press led to his imprisonment by the Fascists.
In Straub-Huillet's last feature length collaboration before Huillet's death in 2006, villagers gather in the Tuscan countryside to recite scenes from Cesare Pavese’s Dialogues with Leucò, a series of meditations on human destiny, both comical and tragic, between ancient Greek mythological figures.
Mourning the death of his partner and collaborator Danièle Huillet, Straub finds tender mercy in music — such as Gustav Mahler’s Songs of the Earth: The Farewell (which the composer wrote in 1909 after the death of his daughter) — and nature.
In this haunting short work, the enchantress Circe recounts to Leucò her attempts to bewitch and bed Odysseus. She talks about men and women, the human and the divine, and the brave hero who chooses to become neither a pig nor a God.
In various guises and melodic fashion, Cornelia Geiser recites verses from Pierre Corneille’s Horace and Othon, and extended excerpts from Bertolt Brecht’s The Trial of Lucullus, in which the Roman General is summoned to the underworld to stand trial for the sufferings he inflicted on commoners and slaves
In darkness, we hear a recording of the scandalous 1954 debut performance of Edgar Varèse’s revolutionary Déserts at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. Then, in a different sort of Elysian Field, we hear a recitation of Canto XXXIII from The Inferno.
Returning from the forest of shades, a quietly defiant Orpheus tells a Bacchante it was free will, not destiny, which compelled him to cast the fatal gaze on his wife Eurydice, recognizing their love as a thing of the past and his own place in the world of living souls.
Another film based on Straub’s memories of growing up in Metz and a work by Maurice Barrès, in which a young country doctor, the son of a French Alsatian bourgeois, is forced to choose between “the French soul and the German deed."
In the sun-dappled Tuscan countryside, the boar hunter Meleager, having been murdered by his own mother to avenge the tragic accidental killing of his brother, engages in conversation about fragility, resistance, and love with Hermes, who has taken female form.
Straub’s abridged retelling of Kafka's story, which has been interpreted in myriad ways and embraced and rejected in equal measure by Arabs and Jews of divergent persuasions, bears fascinating affinities with his and Huillet’s interpretation of the author's Amerika in Class Relations.
Straub’s testament of love was made seven years after the 2006 death of his partner and collaborator Danièle Huillet, and nearly 60 years after they met in Paris and planned to adapt this short story by Georges Bernanos, author of Diary of a Country Priest and Mouchette.
Six scenes concerning resistance to “forms of domination and violence of man on man,” including Communist prisoners who face down their Fascist interrogators during World War II and Egyptian workers and peasants who revolt against their colonial exploiters in 1919.
As a young man, Straub fled to West Germany after refusing to fight for France in the Algerian War. Later in his life, he returned to this bitter historical experience with this terse noir about “the instinct to heal” and to murder.
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