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Jean-Marie Straub (French: [stʁob]; born 8 January 1933, Metz, France) and Danièle Huillet (pronounced [ɥijɛ]; 1 May 1936, Paris – 9 October 2006, Cholet) were a duo of filmmakers who made two dozen films between 1963 and 2006. Their films are noted for their rigorous, intellectually stimulating style and radical, communist politics. Though both were French, they worked mostly in Germany and Italy. From the Clouds to the Resistance (1979) and Sicilia! (1999) are among the duo's best regarded works.
Straub met Huillet as a student in 1954. Straub was involved in the Parisian cinephile community at the time. He was friends with Francois Truffaut and contributed to his publication Cahiers du Cinéma, although Truffaut refused to publish Straub's more inflammatory writings. He worked as an assistant to the film director Jacques Rivette on the 1956 film A Fool's Mate. The pair later emigrated to Germany so that Straub could avoid military service in Algeria. In 1963, they made Machorka-Muff, an 18-minute short based on a Heinrich Böll story and their first collaboration. Their next film, the 55-minute Not Reconciled, was also a Böll adaptation.
They did not make a full-length feature until 1968's Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach, after which they made films at a fairly even rate, completing a feature every 2–3 years. In 1968, they also made a short film starring Rainer Werner Fassbinder and his theatre troupe called The Bridegroom, the Actress and the Pimp. In the mid 1970s, they began producing films in Italy. Increasingly, they began splitting their time between Germany and Italy, as well as frequently collaborating with French and British producers.
Straub and Huillet lived together for most of their lives. They had no children. Huillet died of cancer in Cholet on 9 October 2006, aged 70.
Style and content
All of the films of Straub and Huillet are based on other works: novels, operas, plays, and less conventional source materials, such as political writings. Their sources include writings by Marguerite Duras, Franz Kafka, Elio Vittorini and Bertolt Brecht; two operas by Arnold Schoenberg; letters written by Friedrich Engels, Wassily Kandinsky, and J.S. Bach; and other films, including Rossellini's Europa '51. Many of their films, such as Klassenverhältnisse, stress the relationship between the original text and the film.
Due to his more extroverted nature, Jean-Marie Straub served as the public face of the couple: this has contributed to the widespread assumption that Huillet's role in their filmmaking process was secondary. In reality, the two split their work equally, with Straub responsible for mise en scène, Huillet controlling much of the production design and editing process, and the two being equally responsible for the pre-production, texts and rehearsals. This method can be seen in Pedro Costa's documentary Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie?, filmed during the editing of Sicilia!, one of their last features.
- Machorka-Muff (1963)
- Nicht versöhnt oder Es hilft nur Gewalt wo Gewalt herrscht (1965)
- Chronik der Anna Magdalena Bach (1968)
- Der Bräutigam, die Komödiantin und der Zuhälter (1968)
- Les Yeux ne veulent pas en tout temps se fermer, ou Peut-être qu'un jour Rome se permettra de choisir à son tour (1970)
- Geschichtsunterricht (1972)
- Einleitung zu Arnold Schoenbergs Begleitmusik zu einer Lichtspielscene (1973)
- Moses und Aron (1975)
- Fortini/Cani (1976)
- Toute révolution est un coup de dés (1977)
- Dalla nube alla resistenza (1979)
- En rachâchant (1982)
- Trop tot/trop tard (1982)
- Klassenverhältnisse (also released as Class Relations) (1984)
- Der Tod des Empedokles (1987)
- Schwarze Sünde (1989)
- Paul Cézanne im Gespräch mit Joachim Gasquet (1989)
- Die Antigone des Sophokles nach der Hölderlinschen Übertragung für die Bühne bearbeitet von Brecht 1948 (Suhrkamp Verlag) (1992)
- Lothringen! (1994)
- Von heute auf morgen (1997)
- Sicilia! (1999)
- Operai, contadini (2001)
- Il Ritorno del figlio prodigo - Umiliati (2003)
- Une visite au Louvre (2004)
- Quei loro incontri (2006)
- Europa 2005 - 27 octobre (2006) (TV) (uncredited)
- Dialogue d'ombres (2013)
- "1,000 Greatest Films (Full List)". They Shoot Pictures, Don't They. February 2016. Retrieved March 20, 2016.
- Toubiana, Serge (2000). Truffaut : [a biography]. University of California Press. p. 79. ISBN 0520225244. OCLC 612114619.
- M., Wiles, Mary (2012-01-01). Jacques Rivette. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 9780252078347. OCLC 929407638.
- Kehr, Dave (2006-10-12). "Danièle Huillet - Obituary". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
- "Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet • Great Director profile". sensesofcinema.com. Retrieved 2017-03-09.
- Landscapes of Resistance: The German Films of Daniele Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub (1995) by Barton Byg
- The Art of Seeing, the Art of Listening: The Politics of Representation in the Work of Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet (2004) by Ursula Boser
- 'The Invention of Place: Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub's Moses and Aaron.' (2006) by Jacques Aumont In: M.Lefebvre (Ed.): Landscape and Film, London & New York: Routledge
- Danièle Huillet et Jean-Marie Straub « objectivistes » en cinéma (2009), by Benoît Tuquety, Lausanne, L’Âge d’homme.
- Ted Fendt (Ed.), Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, FilmmuseumSynemaPublikationen Vol. 26, Vienna 2016, ISBN 978-3-901644-64-1