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70 Directors for Venice 70

- JEAN-MARIE STRAUB
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Biography
Born in Metz in 1933, Straub is a film director, screenwriter, producer and editor. With a passion for film dating back to his adolescence, he began organizing film forums as early as the 1950’s; following his studies in literature at the Universities of Strasbourg and Nancy he moved to Paris and in 1954 met Danièle Huillet, with whom he began a sentimental and artistic partnership which would last their entire lifetime, centred on the experimental re-elaboration, in film, of literary works, plays and even works of art. Straub began to work in film in 1956 as a voluntary assistant to Renoir, Bresson, Rivete. After being condemned as a deserter (he had refused to fight the war in Algeria), he moved to Germany with Huillet in 1958; in 1963 he made his directorial debut with the anti-military short film Machorka-Muff, which was presented that year in Venice at the 14th International Documentary Film Festival. Since this debut work, their films have always departed from the traditional canons of the seventh art, combining expressive experimentation, the alienation effect in acting, a political approach and historic analysis. The couple’s first feature-length film was Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach (The Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach, 1967), based on the life of the singer Anna Magdalena Bach, wife of composer Johann Sebastian Bach. In 1969 Straub and Huillet moved to Rome where they made several films, such as the feature-length Les yeux ne veulent pas en tout temps se fermer ou Peut-être qu’un jour Rome se permettra di choisir a son tour, ou Othon (1969), Geschichtsunterricht (History Lessons, 1972), inspired by Brecht and Fortini/Cani (1976). In 1975, the Venice Film Festival dedicated a personal retrospective to Straub and Huillet: the programme also included the couple’s second feature-length film, Moses und Aron (Moses and Aaron, 1974), as well as many earlier works such as Nicht Versöhnt oder Es hilft nur Gewalt, wo Gewalt herrscht (Not Reconciled, 1965) and Einleitung zu Arnold Schönbergs "Begleitmusik zu einer Lichtspielscene” (Introduction to Arnold Schoenberg’s Accompaniment to a Cinematic Scene, 1972). In 1979 they returned to the Lido with Dalla nube alla resistenza (From the Clouds to the Resistance), divided into two parts and inspired by ‘Dialoghi con Leucò’ and ‘La luna e i falò’ by Cesare Pavese: in the first the Gods reflect on their dominion over man, in the second, set in the 1950’s, two inhabitants of the Langhe region reminisce and discuss the positive and negative aspects of the Resistance. Straub and Huillet’s later more important titles include Amerika/Klassenverhältnisse (Class Relations, 1983), inspired by Kafka, Der Tod des Empedokles, oder Wenn dann der Erde Grün von Neuem euch erglänzt (The Death of Empedocles, 1986) and Schwartze Sünde (Black Sin, 1989) from Hölderlin, Antigone (1992) from Sophocles, Sicilia! (1999) and Il ritorno del figlio prodigo ? Umiliati (2003) from Vittorini, Une visite au Louvre (2004), considerations on painting. In 2005 Straub and Huillet came to the Venice Film Festival in Competition with Quei loro incontri (These Encounters of Theirs), again inspired by Pavese: Venice awarded both of them the Special Lion for Innovation in the Language of Cinema. In 2006, after Huillet’s death, Straub made several short films such as Il ginocchio di Artemide (Artemis’ Knee, 2008), O somma luce (2010) and L’inconsolable (2011).
 
FILMS PRESENTED IN VENICE
1963 - Machorka-Muff - 14. Mostra Internazionale del Film Documentario (director)
1975 - Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach - Personale di Jean-Marie Straub e Danièle Huillet Proposte di nuovi film (director)
1975 - Der Bräutigam, die Komödiantin und der Zuhälter - Personale di Jean-Marie Straub e Danièle Huillet Proposte di nuovi film (director)
1975 - Nicht Versöhnt oder Es hilft nur Gewalt, wo Gewalt herrscht - Personale di Jean-Marie Straub e Danièle Huillet Proposte di nuovi film (director)
1975 – Geschichtsunterricht - Personale di Jean-Marie Straub e Danièle Huillet Proposte di nuovi film (director)
1975 - Einleitung zu Arnold Schönbergs "Begleitmusik zu einer Lichtspielscene - Personale di Jean-Marie Straub e Danièle Huillet Proposte di nuovi film (director)
1975 – Moses und Aron - Personale di Jean-Marie Straub e Danièle Huillet Proposte di nuovi film (director)
1979 – Dalla nube alla resistenza – La notte di Officina (director)
2005 – Quei loro incontri – In concorso (director)

AWARDS
2005 – Quei loro incontri - Special Lion to Jean-Marie Straub for innovation in film language (2006)

 



70 Directors for Venice 70