The Films of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet
Explore the inimitable, disciplined work of the lifelong partnership between Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet.
“One of the most intense, challenging and controversial collaborations in the history of cinema”
Joshua Siegel, Museum of Modern Art
Paris, 1954. Jean-Marie Straub, an intimate of many critics and future New Wave directors, met Danièle Huillet, an aspiring ethnographic filmmaker, and a lifelong partnership began. The films that they made together (until Huillet’s death in 2006) collectively form a celebration and interrogation of Europe’s cultural and political heritage, linking classical and radical traditions. Almost every one of their films would build from direct quotations of an original text, making them adapters by trade – and, paradoxically, among the most original filmmakers of the latter half of the 20th century. Obsessive perfectionists, they created and reworked their austere visual approach and declamatory performance style, exploring the text and the distinctive cadence of their (often non-professional) performers, recorded live. The result is a rigorous, disciplined cinema, defined by a simple beauty and fierce political passion.
This retrospective is organised by the Goethe-Institut london in collaboration with BELVA Film and in partnership with BFI Southbank, the ICA, the Institut Français, Close-Up Film Centre, King’s College London, the German Screen Studies Network, the Birkbeck Institute for the Moving Imnges (BIMI), and the Whitechapel Gallery. With the kind support from the Embassy of Switzerland in the UK, the Istituto Italiano di Cultura di Londra, the Instituto Camoe, BIRMAC (Birkbeck Interdisciplinary Research in Media and Culture) and the Department of German, King’s College London. goethe.de/uk
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All images courtesy of BELVA Film GmbH
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