Not Reconciled, or Only Violence Helps Where Violence Rules

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Straub-Huillet attempt to unmoor their audience by denying them the soothing reassurances of conventional storytelling, spatial continuity, or psychological explanation as they hopscotch across the chronologies of Heinrich Böll’s novel Billiards at Half-Past Nine, moving freely between the Kaiser autocracy of the 1910s and the Adenauer economic miracle of the 1950s. In doing so, they chart the origins and legacy of Nazism, and the moral demands of obedience and sacrifice within the German bourgeois. 

Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet

The duo of French directors Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet is often defined as the most intense and controversial collaboration in the history of cinema.

Nearly inseparable partners since 1954 until the death of Huillet in 2006, they worked intimately on every aspect of film production, from the script to the editing.

They made films adapting the ambitious works of literature, visual arts and music: stories by Böll, Kafka, Duras, and Pavese; poems by Dante, Mallarmé, and Hölderlin; a play by Corneille, an essay by Montaigne, a film by D. W. Griffith, a painting by Cézanne, an opera by Schöenberg; the biography of Johann Sebastian Bach. Extremely attentive to the relationship between the image and sound, the directors used to interpret, rewrite and re-actualize the stories, layering them with the political narrative. Straub-Huillet's films reflect on the lessons of history, discuss imperialism, militarism, resistance and advance the Marxist ideas of the class struggle.