Monday Night 10.25.04 — Huillet/Straub — reading/discussion

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Monday Night 10.25.04 — Huillet/Straub — reading/discussion
1. About this Monday
2. About Straub/Huillet
3. Landscapes of Resistance — Barton Byg
4. last week’s email
1. About this Monday
What: Reading — Discussion
When: Monday October 25, 2004 7:30 pm
Where: 16 Beaver Street, 5th or 4th floor
Who: Straub/Huillet films and ideas
As announced last week, and after having seen a few of their films at Anthology, we are going to discuss some of the ideas in relation to Huillet/Straub films.
we will base our discussion on issues raised in the book Landscapes of Resistance — Barton Byg see #3 or on other interviews with the film makers, such as the one we sent out last week. see # 4.
Please read any section that is interesting to you (since no one will read the whole book) so we can share our notes, questions and ideas in the discussion.
please note that the film makers (unfortunately) will not be present at the discussion, as it is sometimes a common misunderstanding.
2. About Straub/Huillet
Born in France, Straub and Huillet moved to Germany in 1958 and since 1969
have lived in Rome. However, the majority of their films are ‘German’ and
exercised a significant influence on West German film-making in the late
60s and early 70s.
Marked by a strong political commitment, their work offers an alternative
both to commercial productions and conventional art house cinema. They are
characterised by a minimalist visual approach and a ‘Brechtian’ use of
non-professional, non-emotive actors. The film-makers consider the soundtrack
no less important than the visual image and reject post-production dubbing in
favour of direct sound. Most of their films are based on pre-existing
works of art, their desire being ‘to show something already formed by the
past, something that affected us, and give it to people so that they can
take a stand regarding it just as we did when we made the film’. Böll,
Brecht and Kafka are just some of the artists whose work they have chosen
to mediate.
To some critics their work is uncinematic or even mere ‘filmed theatre’.
Straub and Huillet retort that theirs are the truly sensuous films: ‘They are
much more optical than the so-called filmic films in which one sees less and less …
only hectic activity, in the editing and in the images. Our films offer a great
deal more to see, not just why and how someone does something, but every
square centimetre of the image given equal importance with the human being who only
takes up a tenth of the frame.’
“The method by which Straub/Huillet have turned works from German culture
into the material for their films challenges both the notion of a literary
‘canon’, the conventions of adaptation, and the question of national
cinema. From their French and Italian vantage points, they undertake a deterritorialization
of German cinema, appropriating German culture from the outside and
‘redeeming’ repressed or marginalized authors, themes, or works of German
history. German history and culture have long produced both great beauty
and great horror, and Straub/Huillet films constantly confront the two. In
so doing, with their radical assertion that even the German language can
be nomadic, their films propose that German culture belongs to Europe and
the world as much as it does to the Germans.’
(From Landscapes of Resistance: The German Films of Danièle Huillet and
Jean-Marie Straub by Barton Byg)
3. Landscapes of Resistance — Barton Byg
an online version of the book by Barton Byg
Landscapes of Resistance: The German Films of Danièle Huillet
and Jean-Marie Straub. Berkeley: University of California Press,1995.
4. Last weeks email contains an interview and more