On the northern shores of Lake Geneva where he has settled, Jean-Marie Straub brings to the water’s peaceful surface the history of a local resistance that shaped Switzerland’s post-war political landscape.
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.
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.
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.
Inspired by D. W. Griffith’s 1909 short film A Corner in Wheat, a Biblical tale of avarice, divine retribution, and the prolonged suffering of the masses, Straub-Huillet offer a dialectical montage of cause (capitalist greed) and effect (the poverty of the farmer and the urban underclass).
Straub-Huillet draw upon a pair of novels by Maurice Barrès, a celebrated Alsatian author, extreme nationalist, and ardent anti-Dreyfusard, to tell tales of perfidy, humiliation, and resistance during the German occupation of Alsace-Lorraine between 1870 and 1918.
At the end of filming Umiliati, Straub and Huillet gave thanks to the cast and crew in a graceful way: by inviting Dolando Bernardini to sing several stanzas from Torquato Tasso’s 16th-century epic poem Jerusalem Delivered.
Straub-Huillet's visit to the Louvre reflects their fierce sentiments on art and their way of looking, using the words of Paul Cézanne to critique images, to be venomous about some artists and honey-tongued about others.
On October 27, 2005, two teenage boys of Mauritanian and Tunisian origin were electrocuted as they fled the police. Their deaths sparked nearly three weeks of riots across France. Straub-Huillet document this tragedy in their final collaboration, an imaginative response to Rossellini's Europa ’51.
Straub films Coton Island, home of Jean Bricard and site of Nazi atrocities, against a stark and leaden winter light, using deliberatively long tracking shots and nearly still compositions to evoke a kind of enduring resilience.
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.
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.
In his newest work, Straub considers Malraux's writings while creating a cosmic interplay between Haydn’s Seven Last Words of Our Savior, a fish tank at a Parisian Chinese restaurant, Renoir’s 1938 film La Marseillaise, and the Jung Institute of Paris.
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