Jean-Marie Straub's polemic messages at Venice

By on


Sin votos (todavía)

Straub y HuilletAt the Venice FIlm Festival, that closed the 9th, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièlle Huillet premiered teir new film Quei loro incontri (2006), sequel to Dalla nube alla resistenza (1979), and, as the previous one, based in a Cesare Pavese's work, the Dialoghi con Leucò . This year's jury, presided by actress Catherine Deneuve, chose to award a Roaring Lion to the cineast couple "for invention of cinematic language in the ensemble of their work". The Straubs, however, didn't attend nor the film's premiere neither the award ceremony: Huillet was ill and Straub sent several messages that were read by the film's actors. 


Three messages

Jean-Marie Straub 

Straub message 1


It’s come too soon for our death - too late for our life.
Anyway, I thank Marco Müller for his courage. But what do I expect from it? Nothing. Nothing at all? Yes, a small revenge. A revenge "against the intrigues of the court," as is said in The Golden Coach. Against so many ruffians.

Why Pavese?
Because he wrote:
"Communist doesn’t mean just wanting to be. We’re too ignorant in this country. We need communists who aren’t ignorant, who don’t spoil the name."

Or again:
"If once it was enough to have a bonfire to make it rain, or to burn a vagabond on one to save a harvest, how many owners’ houses need to be burnt down, how many owners killed in the streets and squares, before the world turns just and we have our words to say?"

Pavese has the bastard say: "The other day I passed by the Mora. The pine tree by the gate’s not there anymore." Replies Nuto: "The bookkeeper had it cut down -- Nicoletto, that ignorant man. He had it cut down because the tramps would stop in its shade and beg, you understand…"
Again Nuto, elsewhere:
"Given the life he leads, I can’t call him a poor fool, as if it would do any good… First, the government should burn up all the money and the people who defend it."

Best wishes.



Straub message 2

I have been:
1. at the Venice Festival (as journalist) in 1954, I chose to write on three films:
No prizes!
2. At the Festival (short films) in 1963 with my first film MACHORKA-MUFF(‘62): no prize.
3. At the Festival in ‘66 with NICHT VERSöHNT (Not Reconciled, 1965). Projection paid for by Godard!
5. At Venice for retrospective in 1975 (wanted by Gambetti) of all our films up to MOSES AND ARON (included), 1974.
6. At the Festival of Cinematographic Art with Quei loro incontri for A Roaring Lion.



Straub message 3

Besides I wouldn’t be able to be festive in a festival where there are so many public and private police looking for a terrorist - I am the terrorist, and I tell you, paraphrasing Franco Fortini: so long as there’s American imperialistic capitalism, there’ll never be enough terrorists in the world.


After the messages were read, that caused a furor at the Festival, the jury met again to reconsider the award. Director Cameron Crowe objected that it wasn't "opportune" in the eve of 9/11, but consented to an agreement if the Festival distanced from Straub's "anti-american" message. The award was finally given with no "distance".


News gotten from Andy Rector's blog Kino Slang.