May 1, 2008

Song of Two Humans, BUT...!

Straub sings a little Schoenberg 
while leaving the frame:

Erwartet die Form/ nicht vor dem Gedanken! Sondern...

Huillet: ...ABER !

...Aber gleichzeitig wird sie da sein!

Don't expect the form before the idea however...

Huillet: ...BUT !

...BUT together they will make their appearance!

N'attendez pas la forme avant la pensée (l'idée).....

(Où gît votre sourire enfoui, Pedro Costa, Theirry Lounas - 2001)



In 1972, Straub and Huillet make "a little Schoenberg"
Einleitung zu Arnold Schoenbergs "Begleitmusik zu einer Lichtspielscene"
Introduction to Arnold Schoenberg's "Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene":

Günter Peter Straschek reads from one of Schoenberg's letters to Kandinsky, 1923:
(...)...Don't you know that in peace-time everyone was horrified at a railway accident with four dead, and that during the war one could hear talk of 100,000 dead without even trying to imagine the misery, the pain, the fear and the consequences. Yes, that there were people who rejoiced over the most possible dead enemies; the more, the more so! I am no pacifist; to be against war is as pointless as to be against death. Both are inevitable, depend only in the slightest degree upon us.

The same way the inversion now taking place in the social structure isn't on the guilt account of any individual. It is written in the stars and takes place with necessity. The bourgeoisie was already too orientated towards ideals, no longer capable of fighting, and therefore the miserable but robust elements are rising out of the depths of mankind to generate a new middle class, capable of existing. This one will buy itself a book on bad paper and starve. So and not otherwise must it come - can one overlook this?

And this you want to stop. For this you want to make the Jews answerable? I don't understand it! Are all Jews Communists? You know as well as I that this is not the case.

The Jews do business as merchants. But when they become uncomfortable to competition, they are attacked; only not as merchants, but as Jews. As what should they defend themselves? But I am convinced that they do defend themselves only as merchants, and the defence as Jews is only an apparent one. I.e. that their Aryan attackers when attacked defend themselves in the same way, even though with a few other words and by employing other (more congenial???) forms of hypocrisy; and that for the Jews the point is not at all to beat Christian competition, but all competition! and that for the Aryans in the same way it also hat to do with all competition; and that every connection which leads to the goal is thinkable between them, and every other antithesis. Today it is race; another time I don't know what. And there a Kandinsky joins in?

But where should anti-semitism lead, if not to violent deeds? Is it hard to imagine this?

For you it is perhaps enough to deprive the Jews of their rights. Then Einstein, Mahler, I and many others will have been eliminated. But one thing is for certain: those much tougher elements thanks to whose capacity for resistance the Jewry has for twenty centuries maintained itself without protection against the whole of mankind - those you will not be able to exterminate. For they are obviously so organised that they can accomplish the task that their God has assigned to them: to maintain themselves in exile, unalloyed and unbroken, ......until the hour of redemption comes!

Huillet: But, asks Brecht, how will someone now say the truth about fascism, which he is against, if he will say nothing about capitalism, which brings it to the fore? How then should his truth turn out to be practicable?

Peter Nestler reading a Brecht text from 1935:

Those who are against fascism without being against capitalism, who lament over the barbarism that comes from barbarism, are the same as people who eat their part of the calf, but say the calf should not be slaughtered. They want to eat the calf, but not to see the blood. They are not against the ownership relations which generate barbarism, only against barbarism. They raise their voice against barbarism, and they do this in countries in which the same ownership relations rule, but where the butchers still wash their hands before they serve up the meat. Loud accusations against barbaric measures may work for a short time, so long as the listeners believe that in their countries such measures would not come into question. Certain countries are still in a position to keep up their property relations with less actively violent means than others. To them democracy still renders the services for which others must resort to violence - namely, the guarantee of property in the means of production. Monopoly over factories, mines, lands, creates everywhere barbaric conditions; yet these are less visible. Barbarism becomes visible as soon as monopoly can still be protected only through open violence.

F. Engels (Letter to Karl Kautsky)

Mahmud Hussein (Luttes sociales en Egypte)

Bouna Traore and Zyed Benna

Bia and Kratos

BIA: If you had known humans, you’d understand. They’re poor worms, but everything with them is unexpected and a discovery. One can know the beast, one can know the god, but no one, not even we, knows the depth of their hearts. There are even, among them, some who pit themselves against destiny. Only by living with them and for them does one savor the taste of the world.KRATOS: Or of women? Pandora’s daughters? Those beasts?
BIA: Women or beasts, it’s the same. What do you think you’re saying? They’re the richest fruit of mortal life.KRATOS: But does Zeus accost them as beast or as god?BIA: Silly, he accosts them as human. That’s the point.



"The most interesting thing about me is my date of birth; 1 May 1936. After the second diploma I went once to the Sorbonne and ran out again after a half hour,in hatred and terror. Then I prepared for the I.D.H.E.C. -- and met Straub in the process. I wanted to make documentaries -- ethnographic films. Also: I didn't like blond people with light skin at all; when I was small, I found nothing more beautiful than the girls at school in Paris (where I came only at age 13 -- before, I was in the country), who were dark.....But Straub simply was blond with very light skin, unfortunately! I had learned English and Spanish and then had to learn first German and finally Italian...quite dialectical."

-Danièle Huillet-


Operai, contadini (Workers, Peasants - 2001)

Trop tôt, trop tard (Too Early, Too Late - 1982)

Europa 2005 - 27 Octobre (2006)

Quei loro incontri (2006)
Dalla nube alla resistenza (1979)

Straub on 
Einleitung.../Introduction to Schoenberg's..., 
 from ENTHUSIASM no. 1, 1975:

(...) Then I got a letter from Hilmar Schatz (of West German TV) who wrote, 'Would you be prepared to illustrate optically this music of Schoenberg?' I listened to the music which I did not know and I answered: 'I see nothing, therefore I connot illustrate anything optically at all.' And then I thought about it and said, 'Maybe I can come up with something'. It started to interest me. Then I found the two letters by Schoenberg, and so it assembled itself. I hadn't shown Schatz a script. I said, 'I'll start with some letters', which he knew - 'Ah, yes, very nice, letters' - 'and then I have a few lines of Brecht', I did not say which of course, 'and then newsreel material'. Again I didn't say which. Because then we thought to turn the thing upside down by a bit of artificial dialectics, meaning, not to show American barbarism, which is now in the film, but the three Israeli/Arab wars. We saw some more material. Slowly we arrived at the conviction that it would be better to return to the source of imperialism, that is, to the Americans, who in fact feed the state of Israel. Then I delivered the film to Schatz the day it was to be broadcast. There was a slight difficulty with the station, but it was too late. We said, we keep the rights to ourselves, together with the negative, and here the answer to your question, and we insisted that our film was shown third (in the omnibus TV series of musical shorts), not at the beginning, and not in the middle, because I knew exactly that the whole thing was going to be completely a-political and it would be better to have it at the end especially in an a-political frame.

(...) and I would like to say that Schatz was very correct and very friendly.

(...) The Brecht text was brought to my attention by Nestler, years ago. Therefore I wanted him to read it. I didn't discover this text. He did. As far as Straschek is concerned I wanted an Austrian accent. I wanted a young man so as not to give the impression, 'That is Schoenberg, resurrected, reading'. And I wanted one who right from the beginning did not agree with it. Straschek didn't want to do it at all.

Andi Engel: Yes?

Straub: Of course he thought the letters beautiful but it went againt his convictions, what is said there.


Huillet and Straub in 
conversation with F. Albera,
from Hors Champ No. 7 
(trans. JP Bedoyan and G.W. Antheil), 2001:

Huillet: You can let things mature, however. You were talking about circumstances earleir. When you're obsessed with massacres and peasant wars as we were and still are, when you finally make Too Early, Too Lateit's precisely because all of this resurfaces in a acertain way once it's found the appropriate form.

Straub: This is the form we chanced upon through a triple encounter: a first trip to Egypt for Moses und Aron, followed by a second trip, and then the return to Italy and the discovery of a book written by two people who had spent a year in one of Nasser's concentration camps...

Huillet: Plus the cahiers de doleance from which Engels takes his figures. All of this, the French part of the film, ends with the inscription "Peasants will rise," partly masked by a pole. When the film was completed in 1981, they told us peasant revolts were all but impossible. Now you can see what's happening.

It's the opposite of a film that would be following the fads...

-Thanks to Klaus Volkmer ( please see his 1st of May post here ) for the translations, Moses und Aron, aber alles...

-Thanks to Tag Gallagher for his work on the Quei loro incontri translations

1 comment:

Frank Partisan said...

Beautiful post.