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The Films of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet

History Lessons


This experimental and wilfully anachronistic film features a contemporary man gleaning insights from Julius Caesar’s ex-slave and ex-banker.

Image from History Lessons

Italy-West Germany 1972
Dirs Straub-Huillet
With Benedikt Zulauf, Gottfried Bold
English subtitles

The image of an Alfa Romeo gliding around the streets of Rome recurs throughout this experimental and wilfully anachronistic film developed from Bertolt Brecht’s unfinished novel The Business Affairs of Mr Julius Caesar. We see a young man in contemporary garb interview toga-clad acquaintances of the Emperor, including his ex-slave and former banker, who give their markedly opposed insights into the career of the late Roman despot. History, we are reminded, is both written by the victors and constantly in the making.

Joint ticket offer available with the History lessons: Brecht, Straub-Huillet and the British context talk on Sat 16 Mar at 15:50: £18, concs £15 (Members pay £2 less).

The screening on Sat 16 Mar at 13:30 will be introduced by Martin Brady, King’s College London.


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