“If we hadn’t learned how to make films, I would have planted bombs,” Jean-Marie Straub once stated of his early days with partner Danièle Huillet (1936-2006). Together the two created one of the most uncompromising, yet eternally surprising, filmmaking aesthetics in postwar European cinema, capable of fusing classic European literature with radical political action, and staging cerebral queries on philosophy and culture against a natural backdrop so vividly, sensually photographed as to seem almost elemental. The only filmmakers who would dedicate a film about Johann Sebastian Bach to the Viet Cong, Straub and Huillet made a career—and a lifetime—out of making cinema, culture, and art mean something.

Born in France, the polyglot duo lived in and created works across Germany, France, and Italy, moving from Antigone to Kafka, Julius Caesar to anti-Nazi partisans, the Bible to Communist memoirs. Each adaptation is staged as skeletally as possible, to focus not just on the text, but those who perform it, and the landscapes where they stand. Straub is fond of quoting D. W. Griffith’s statement, “what the modern cinema lacks is the wind in the trees”; here, the wind, the elements, the eternal, speaks as loudly as words. “Their films are elemental things,” writes J. Hoberman, “concerned with the flow of history, the beauty of the natural world and the specificity of their human actors.”

Find out more details about the retrospective here.

BAMPFA 2155 Center Street Berkeley, CA 94720

Not Reconciled: The Cinema of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet

When
January 26, 2017 - May 14, 2017
Where
BAMPFA
2155 Center Street
Berkeley, CA 94720

“If we hadn’t learned how to make films, I would have planted bombs,” Jean-Marie Straub once stated of his early days with partner Danièle Huillet (1936-2006). Together the two created one of the most uncompromising, yet eternally surprising, filmmaking aesthetics in postwar European cinema, capable of fusing classic European literature with radical political action, and staging cerebral queries on philosophy and culture against a natural backdrop so vividly, sensually photographed as to seem almost elemental. The only filmmakers who would dedicate a film about Johann Sebastian Bach to the Viet Cong, Straub and Huillet made a career—and a lifetime—out of making cinema, culture, and art mean something.

Born in France, the polyglot duo lived in and created works across Germany, France, and Italy, moving from Antigone to Kafka, Julius Caesar to anti-Nazi partisans, the Bible to Communist memoirs. Each adaptation is staged as skeletally as possible, to focus not just on the text, but those who perform it, and the landscapes where they stand. Straub is fond of quoting D. W. Griffith’s statement, “what the modern cinema lacks is the wind in the trees”; here, the wind, the elements, the eternal, speaks as loudly as words. “Their films are elemental things,” writes J. Hoberman, “concerned with the flow of history, the beauty of the natural world and the specificity of their human actors.”

Find out more details about the retrospective here.

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