[spectre] huillet-straub: the act of resistance

Florian Schneider fls at kein.org
Thu Dec 17 13:21:05 CET 2009

After five intense weeks of wonderful film screenings and inspiring
debates we are going to open the fifth and for now final studio OF A
PEOPLE WHO ARE MISSING tonight, Thursday, December 17th in Extracity -
Kunsthal Antwerpen. http://ofapeoplewhoaremissing.net

The program of the next three days is entitled "The act of resistance"
and will focus on the early as well as the most recent films that
Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub made in Italy. The screening
program includes works on 16mm that will be projected again in their
original format, such as "Fortini/Cani" and "History lessons".

Two guests from Italy, Guilio Bursi and Romano Guelfi, have been working
closely with Huillet and Straub over the past ten years. In dialog with
Pietro Bianchi, researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie, the
presentations will shed light on the specific working methods of the
latest works of Huillet and Straub.

On Staurday, December 19th, the cine-club and exhibition project OF A
PEOPLE WHO ARE MISSING will be closed with a presentation by the artist
Peter Friedl. "The secret modernity" is an investigation into the blind
spots of a politics of images that is constitutive for the complicity of
modernity, colonialism, and fascism.

Thursday 17 December, 18:00 
On the three versions of Operai Contadini
Lecture by Giulio Bursi

Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet have developed a practice of
montage of different editions of the same film which they made circulate
as copies with the same title and the same order of montage. The
differences are always made through different takes of the same shot.
Every edition has its authority and independence but also exists
together with the others, born from the work with the precedent.
Generally speaking, the Straubs managed to construct singular copies, as
a tableau or a statue, to give them to film libraries or instutions who
don't acquire just a simple copy of the copy.

Thursday 17 December, 19:00 
Quei loro Incontri (These Encounters of Theirs) 
Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub, 2006, 68 min 
Italian with French subtitles

Quei loro incontri tells the story of a community of farmers after the 
World War II. It is the sequel of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle
Huillet's "Dalla nube alla resistenza" and like its prequel it is also
inspired by Cesare Pavese's "Dialoghi con Leucò", first published in

Thursday 17 December, 20:30 
Giulio Bursi, 2006, 103 min.
Italian with English subtitles

Giulio Bursi, for years assistant to Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle
Huillet, shows us the set, the preparation of the shots, the actor’s
rehearsals, the filmmakers’ close attention to the filming, the shutting
of the clapperboard, the search for the right lighting, improvised
moments both dead and full of anticipation. A historic documentation of
the two filmmakers made with a hand-held camera.

Thursday 17 December, 21:30 
Giulio Bursi & Pietro Bianchi discussing J’écoute

Friday 18 December, 19:00 
Il Ritorno del figlio prodigo – Umilaiti
Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub, 2003, 64 min 
Italian with French subtitles

Il ritorno del figlio prodigo looks back to a sequence in the previous
work which had been adapted from Elio Vittorinis «The Women of Messine»,
published in 1949. Spine, a boy from an Italian peasant community,
returns from the town where he had gone to sell a donkey. The following
piece, Umiliati, is narratively independent of the first, but
complements it thematically by continuing the exploration of Vittorinis
text in even greater depth. The peasant community is confronted with
three hunters who lay claim on the land. They are «the unruffled
impassivity of power, sitting in the undergrowth.» (Jean Michel Frodon)

Friday 18 December, 20:30 
Necessity and Change – On Straubs working method 
Lecture by Romano Guelfi

The lecture will focus on the last works by Straub-Huillet in cinema and
theatre based on Vittorini and Pavese texts, confronting different
materials about the actors and découpages preparation for the movies and
exploring the relationships with other traditional forms of
representation as such as the "maggio" and, going inside the medium,
confronting the last developments in instruments for the moving image

Saturday 19 December, 15:00 
History Lessons Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub, 1972, 94 min 
16mm film projection German with English subtitles

The source of History Lessons is Brecht's Die Geschafte des Herrn Julius
Caesar. Straub and Huillet only present a fragment of the incompleted
novel. They left out all the anecdotal material and concentrated on the
discussions of economics. Straub said of the film while it was still in
the planning stages: "It will be presented to be judged as a reflection
on Marx."

Saturday 19 December, 18:00 Fortini/Cani 
Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub, 1976, 83 min 
16mm film projection Italian with English subtitles

The deconstruction and partial reinstatement of a conventional device is
a characteristic strategy in the work of Straub and Huillet.
Fortini/Cani, which they made in 1977, centers on a book, I Cani del
Sinai (The Dogs of the Sinai), written in response to the Arab-Israeli
Six-Day War of 1967 by the Florentine poet and journalist Franco
Fortini, who now in the film reads aloud from his book of ten years
before. At that time Fortini, a Communist and a Jew, undertook a defense
of the Arabs against the pro-Israeli bias of most of his fellow
countrymen and especially of his fellow Jews; his book is a polemic from
a Marxist standpoint and also an elucidation of how the author came to
this position from his own background as an Italian Jew.  (Gilberto

Saturday 19 December 20:00 
The secret Modernity 
Lecture by Peter Friedl

Peter Friedl is an artist who lives and works in situ. His artistic
practice highlights political awareness, permanent displacement,
narratology, and the reinvention of genres left over from the history of
modernism. He has participated in documenta X (1997) and documenta 12
(2007). Solo exhibitions include the retrospective survey “Work
1964–2006,” Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Miami Art Central,
Musée d’Art Contemporain, Marseille (2006–07), and “Working,” Kunsthalle
Basel (200. Since the 1980s he has published numerous essays and book
projects such as Four or Five Roses (2004) and Working at Copan (2007).

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