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2X Straub/Huillet

Boston Theatrical Premieres!

The team of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet has provided the most effective and uncompromising radical voice in modern European cinema. In the opinion of the late critic Serge Daney, they are "the last great filmmakers of the history of modern cinema, perhaps of the history of cinema, period." Based on the destruction of cliché, of ideology, of "dull and boring naturalism," Straub and Huillet's cinema is intended to surprise the viewer, to bring her/him into an active and thinking relationship with the film, and, above all, to become more concretely engaged. Their films are aggressive, essential, and also quite beautiful: finding new forms of sound and image, they give back to the viewer the sheer experience of film as film and of reality as reality, not realism.


December 5 (Sunday) 7 pm

Sicilia!

Directed by Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet
France 1999 B/W, 35mm, 66 min.
With Gianni Buscarino, Angela Nugara, Vittorio Vigneri, Carmelo Maddio
Italian with English subtitles

"Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet have created a bold and beautiful adaptation of Elio Vittorini's masterwork Conversations in Sicily. Published in 1939 and a best seller until banned in 1942, the novel narrates the return of an intellectual to his native Sicily after a long absence. The film is structured as a series of dialogue encounters—with strangers in a port, fellow passengers on a train, the protagonist's mother—each of which conceals more than it reveals, emphasizing the distance between what can be seen and felt and what can be expressed. Moving beyond the original's immediate context—the increasing oppression of pre-war Italy—Straub/Huillet offer a moving look at the state of permanent exile common to all of those who can't go home again."
—New York Film Festival

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December 5 (Sunday) 8:30 pm
Both programs will be introduced by Professor Barton Byg of the German Language Department at UMass/Amherst. Thanks to the Pacific Film Archive, Pierre Grise Productions, and Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet for the loan of From Today Until Tomorrow.

From Today Until Tomorrow (Von heute auf morgen)

Directed by Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet
France/Germany 1996, b/w, 35mm, 62 min.
With Christine Whittlesey, Richard Salter, Claudia Barainsky
German with English subtitles

For the third time in their career, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet deal with the work of Arnold Schönberg. This short, almost forgotten opera was composed in 1929, based on a libretto by Schönberg's wife Gertrud. From Today Until Tomorrow explores one night in a not-quite loveless marriage. A husband and wife return from a party where she has flirted with another man, while he has cast an appraising eye toward an attractive, fashionably dressed acquaintance of his wife's. Though each dreams, briefly, of leaving the marriage for the excitement and mystery of a new lover, in the end they decide stability and comfort are more important than the fleeting thrill of a new romance. Relying on long, fixed shots in austere black and white, directors Straub and Huillet maintain their focus on the musical brilliance of Schönberg's atonal score, performed here by 70 musicians.

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