September 13, 2006

"I do it because some of the younger people must know..." -Huillet

--facsimilies of Jean-Marie Straub's "Three Messages" to the Venice film festival, in his absence. The center handwritten sheet is translated in my previous post below. A complete english translation will be posted or linked to shortly. As for actual english language reportage, critique, or analysis of the film itself (QUEI LORO INCONTRI aka The Meetings), we may have to wait some time for that. This is the only english report on the film that I know of, by Reuters; blissfully ignorant and somewhat ostracizing.

The last typewritten sheet above deals with "Why Pavese?" (QUEI is based on the last five dialogues of Pavese's Dialogues with Leuco) and, like the films of Straub/Huillet, consists of small sections of text that express singular outrage (Pavese was perhaps even more singular and alone than the Straubs in his communism) at "how the world goes", in the words of one member of the cast. Nothing is "little" in what the Straubs do, from the equality of things in their films, from shot to shot, to a "little" passage in Pavese tossed at the immodest atmosphere of a film festival (the cutting down of a pine tree because tramps were getting shade and begging there, quoted in the 3rd message above) or Vittorini (a dialogue on ricotta in their film OPERAI, CONTADINI) -- feeling as a weapon.

The urgent handwritten note or dedication is integral to Straub/Huillet. In fact they have a long history of side-propagation at festivals and public events. Handing out provocative leaflets (to get MACHORKA-MUFF seen against the wishes of it's producers), passing notes, verbally dedicating a film to the Vietcong at a certain screening ("that morning we saw in the newspapers that the bombing of Hanoi had begun again, and we said simply, at that moment, showing the film to those people, that the film was dedicated to the Vietcong."), tacking up flyers saying "This film was turned down by the Selection Committee of the Cannes festival" (says Huillet, "If I feel I must say this about the Cannes festival, it's not out of revenge or to rock the boat in any way. It won't rock anything at all; I do it because some of the younger people must know...")

And because nothing is little and the letter is handwritten, or typewritten, rather than word processed, and because the Straubs began their very first film MACHORKA-MUFF with a handwritten note ("No story; a visual, abstract dream") and have since filmed many other handwritten notes -- dedications to Holger Meins (who died on a hunger strike in prison as a suspected Red Army Faction terrorist), or to "Barnabé the cat"... for the connection between everyday life, political action and cinema...for all that, I post these facsimilies.

(Thanks to Klaus Volkmer for info and documents)

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