May 3, 2018

May 20th, 2018 


at the

Echo Park Film Center
1200 N. Alvarado St. 
Los Angeles, CA. 90026 


Peter Nestler, 1985

Jean-Marie Straub, 2018

L​E​ 6 ​JUIN ​À​ ​L'AUBE​​ 
Jean Grémillon, 1944-45 ​

On his 85th birthday this year Jean-Marie Straub was celebrated by his friends at the Swiss cinémathèque in Lausanne. Video tributes by Peter Nestler, Valérie Massadian, Jean-Claude Rousseau, Jean Narboni, and Bernard Eisenschitz among others were screened and Straub—"menace of the cinema, by his cinematograph"—brought his own gift: a new short film called GENS DU LAC (2018), "Lake People". 

It is a tremendous honor and pleasure for us at Kino Slang to present the North American premiere of Straub's GENS DU LAC in Los Angeles. It was made with his long-time friends, cast and crew, Renato Berta, Barbara Ulrich, Christophe Clavert, and Giorgio Passerone.

For our program a carte blanche was proposed​ and Straub and company chose Jean Grémillon's LE 6 JUIN À L'AUBE (1944-45. THE SIXTH OF JUNE AT DAWN) to accompany their picture. 

Jean Grémillon, whose films are seldom seen and heard today, and who wrote that filmmaking "...implies looking for and finding what’s essential: to denounce the contradictions of imposed or endured regimes; to reveal the alienation that develops under very diverse conditions–from the most obvious modes of slavery to the most underground ones–as well as the decomposition of social milieus on the verge of disappearance.”

Preceding the Straub and Grémillon films will be Peter Nestler's VÄNTAN (1985), a six minute film documenting a 1930 mining accident in Lower Silesia which killed 159 workers. These imagesfilmed photographs rescued from oblivion by Nestler in cooperation with several other filmmakers/producers of Swedish television who saw in them indispensable historical detail and value—show moments of terror, protest, bewilderment, repression and mourning during the terrifying moments of one particular atrocity inside the "murder-system", as the miners call it during their demonstration, a catastrophe which can be taken to characterize the whole.

— A.R.


VÄNTAN​ (DAS WARTEN; WAITINGPeter Nestler​. 1985. Sweden. Production: Sveriges Radio. 6 minutes) 

"Thursday, July 9, 1930. Big eruption of carbon dioxide​ ​at the Wenzelslaus pit in Hausdorf​ ​near Neurode, Lower Silesia.​ ​In the 17th section​​​ ​where 82 men worked​ ​there was an eruption of​ ​a large amount of carbon dioxide.​ ​​Gas flooded into the 18th section​ ​where 118 men worked.​ ​Nearly all workers​ ​​were numbed almost instantly." In this film Peter Nestler shows the rescue effort and aftermath of this​, one of ​"many catastrophes ​​during those years of rationalization", culminating in ​a ​massive ​demonstration and ​funeral of the workers. With music by ​​Schoenberg and ​​Webern. Th​is​ film's existence ​in ​itself ​was ​an emergency​ under capitalism​:  i​n 1985, Swedish Television (Sveriges Radio) was about to sell a​ "valuable, huge and unique" collection of photographs and newspaper clippings to a commercial photo agency in London. Sveriges Radio had acquired this German collection, 'Text und Bilder', after World War II. Nestler, in cooperation with other filmmakers made use of this archive to prevent the deal. "By doing short films with this material we wanted to show what a treasure we had in our picture archive down in the cellar of the 'Radiohuset': We, the filmmakers/producers, were Olle Häger, Hans Villius, Inger Etzler, Kristian Romare and me... The pictures remained in our archive (bildarkivet) and have been digitized since then! It was a good example of necessary and successful cooperation among us colleagues at SVT." (Nestler)


GENS DU LAC (LAKE PEOPLE. Jean-Marie Straub. 2018. 18 minutes. Based on the novel GENS DU LAC by Janine Massard. **North American Premiere**)​ — 

A man remembers his youth as part of a fishing family on the Vaudoise coast of Lake Geneva, the traffic on the lake during the Second World War, and the political upheavals in the immediate aftermath of the war. "A lake is also a border, but out on the water this designation is lost: in the fishery, 'the profession of free men', the Savoyards and Vaudois find themselves confreres, and if out loud we speak only of nets and fish, in silence we sometimes enter the Resistance..." 

GENS DU LAC, the 50th movie by Jean-Marie Straub, does not depart from the rule noted by critic Serge Daney 35 years ago that every Straubfilm is an examination of a historical situation in which men have resisted. 


L​E​ 6 ​JUIN ​À​ ​L'AUBE​​ (THE SIXTH OF JUNE AT DAWN. Jean Grémillon​. 1944-45. 56 minutes) ​​—

Severals days after the liberation of Paris in August 1944, ​director ​Jean Grémillon set-out with a team of cameramen to “​establish the most exact record of the state of Normandy” and show the ​brutal ​effects of the​​ war​ on the land and the people. 

"T​HE SIXTH OF JUNE AT DAWN is a​n​ ​'assessment', ​in ​the same way that​ Goya painted the ​THE DISASTERS OF WAR, . . .made ​with a rigor ​that ​the ​documentary ​film ​generally does not tolerate. The ​storytelling, the alternation of didactic, demonstrative, explanatory and purely ​emotional sequences,​ the thematic reprises,​ ​and ​the suppleness and ​pleasure of the m​usic​, which intervenes, ​all ​make ​THE SIXTH OF JUNE AT DAWN​ exemplary of the lucidity​ ​and art of ​recounting a ​story​. ​Towards the end, a​ key document: the simple report of ​a carpenter​,​ Le Guerinel​,​ who​ for the first time in his life found himself​ ​signaling airmen and guiding bomber​s​. A man is suddenly thrown into a world ​he ​​does​ not understand​ and​,​ with everyday words​, ​he tells his story. This simple fact, raw ​and ​in the most naked ​of ​style​s​, draws ​a most tragic force." ​ (Pierre Kast)


Program total running time: 90 minutes
There will be no introductions
Doors open at 7:30pm
$5 Suggested donation
Program notes will be provided at the door 

Maximum thanks to Barbara Ulrich, Chloe Reyes, Ricardo Matos Cabo, Miguel Armas, Bernard Eisenschitz, Peter Nestler, and JMS. 


“Kino Slang” is a regular series of cinema screenings programmed by Andy Rector at the Echo Park Film Center. It aims at projecting the silent alarms and naked dawns one can still find in the cinema. Our screening this month marks the one-year anniversary of the series, which began last May as a double-bill of A GIRL'S FOLLY (1917, Maurice Tourneur) and GRANDEUR AND DECADENCE OF A SMALL TIME FILM COMPANY (1986, Jean-Luc Godard). Since then we have screened films by Boris Barnet, Jerry Lewis, Alfred Hitchcock, Edgar G. Ulmer, Pedro Costa, Jacques Tourneur, Aleksandr Dovzhenko, Charlie Chaplin, Jean Renoir, Luis Buñuel, and João César Monteiro.



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