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4— Formal and Political Radicalism in the Short Films of the 1960s

1. Michel Delahaye, "Pornographie et cinéma à l'état nu" [Interview with Jean-Marie Straub], Cahiers du cinéma 180 (July 1966):56. [BACK]

2. Ibid. [BACK]

3. See "Straub and Huillet on Filmmakers They Like and Related Matters," Film at the Public program, ed. Jonathan Rosenbaum, November 1982, 5. [BACK]

4. Michael Klier, Porträts der Filmemacher: Jean-Marie Straub , WDR, Cologne, 1970. Film. [BACK]

5. "Andi Engel Talks to Jean-Marie Straub," Cinemantics 1 (1 January 1970): 17. Straub/Huillet eventually made the newsmagazine Der Spiegel for traveling all the way from Munich to Bonn to record the sound of the trolleys, insisting that they do not sound at all alike. [BACK]

6. "Engel Talks to Straub," 18. Thomas Elsaesser relates the Karajan anecdote with Artur Brauner as the producer, but refers to Straub and not a published source. Brauner did, however, make a small donation to the Filmfonds for the Bach film; Straub does not mention him in the interviews as a possible producer. Elsaesser, New German Cinema: A History (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1989), 68; cited hereafter as NGC . [BACK]

7. Rainer Rother, "Das mühsame Geschäft des Filmemachens: Zur Entstehungsgeschichte von Machorka-Muff und Nicht versöhnt oder Es hilft nur Gewalt wo Gewalt herrscht ," in Machorka-Muff: Jean-Marie Straubs und Danièle Huillets Verfilmung einer Satire von Heinrich Böll , ed. Reinhold Rauh (Münster: MAKS, 1988), 66-67. [BACK]

8. Machorka-Muff thus relates to Not Reconciled in the same way that a number of short Straub/Huillet films serve as "studies" for larger works. Other examples would be the Schoenberg short (made close to History Lessons and in preparation for the major project Moses and Aaron ), the Mallarmé film (the first film with William Lubtchansky as cinematographer), and En Râchâchant (made before Class Relations ). This often allowed Straub/Huillet and some new crew members to become acquainted with working together and to try out sets, locations, or lighting before going on to a larger project. [BACK]

9. The leaflet read, "Since the all-wise Gentlemen from the selection committee had no eyes, no ears, no sense for the cinematographic newness of Machorka-Muff --or

no sense for democracy (?), Machorka-Muff will be shown elsewhere in Oberhausen this week, to which you are invited." See Rother, "Das mühsame Geschäft," 65. [BACK]

10. Ibid., 68; "Engel Talks to Straub," 18. [BACK]

11. "Engel Talks to Straub," 18. [BACK]

12. The letter from Stockhausen, published in Film 1, no. 2 (June/July 1963):52, and reprinted in Rother, "Das mühsame Geschäft," 69-70, reads as follows:

[2 May 1963]

Dear Mr. Straub,

First I want to congratulate you on the film I recently saw in Cologne. You yourself will know that you are following the difficult path. Therefore I am writing you so you will know that in this film you have done good work. In the realm of the spirit [ Geist ] it is not quantity that counts, but the truthfulness and the creative accomplishment.

The subject is taken from our time. It is true, precise and of general validity. Whoever censures exaggeration knows nothing of the artistic necessity of pushing an idea to the limit so that it really comes across. Give such grumblers Greek dramas or Shakespeare to read. What interested me most in your film is the composition of time, which is—as it is to music—particular to film. You have achieved good proportions in the duration of scenes, between those which almost stand still—how astonishing is the courage to be still, to a slow tempo, in such a relatively short film!—and extremely fast events—brilliant, to choose for this the newspaper citations in all angles to the vertical of the screen. Furthermore, the relative density of the changes in the varied tempos is good. Where one would have to work further would be on giving equal rights to the characters and locations: "main characters," "climaxes" (the speech at the laying of the cornerstone) would gradually have to disappear: Let each element have is own irreplaceable and indispensable moment; no decoration. "Everything is the main thing," said Webern in such cases (but each in its own time, one would have to add). Also good is the openness, the continuation of thinking in the heads of the spectators, dispensing with any gesture of overture or finale. There is much I could still add: the total lack of pedantics, do-gooding [ das Weltverbessernde ], illusion, symbolism, the false as-if: you didn't need it and chose facts instead; but not as flat reporting, but in that exaggeration, the uncanny sheet-lightning of the camera work, in the streets, in the hotel (very good is the empty wall of the hotel room that stands for a long time; one can't get away from its staleness), out the window. And in addition, this "unrealistic" condensation in time, without being rushed. On this tightrope between truth, concentration and exaggeration (which burns itself into perception) one can go further. Nowhere else. For we know today that even the shredded illusion is an illusion. You don't want to "change'' the world, but rather engrave in it the trace of your presence and thereby say that you have seen a part of this world, have unfolded it as it gives itself to you. That has pleased me. All negative criticism must stand back behind these criteria. I look forward with anticipation to your work to come. Let in a little calmness, much stillness, much space and cheerfulness of heart—it broadens the scale.

13. "Engel Talks to Straub," 18. [BACK]

14. Rother, "Das mühsame Geschäft," 72. [BACK]

15. Delahaye, "Pornographie et cinéma," 53. [BACK]

16. Reinhold Rauh, "Vorwort," in Machorka-Muff: Jean Marie Straubs und Danièle Huillets Verfilmung einer Satire von Heinrich Böll , ed. Reinhold Rauh (Münster: MAKS, 1988), 9. [BACK]

17. Ibid., 7. [BACK]

18. Heinrich Böll, "Bonn Diary," in Absent Without Leave and Other Stories , trans. Leila Vennewitz (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1967), 300-312. The story first

appeared in Aufwärts (Cologne) on 15 September 1957. Straub mistakenly cited publication in Welt der Arbeit , probably because its editor had been Gottfried Bold, who played the politician in Not Reconciled and the banker in History Lessons . For a leftist view of the political steps toward remilitarization of West Germany, cf. Martin Kampe, SPD und Bundeswehr: Studien zum militärisch-industriellen Komplex (Cologne: Pahl-Rugenstein, 1973), 42-43 and passim. [BACK]

19. Böll, "Bonn Diary," 304. [BACK]

20. Peter Nau, "Filme Lesen," Filmkritik 6 (1979):263-272. [BACK]

21. Ibid., 266. [BACK]

22. Ibid., 268-269. [BACK]

23. Böll, "Bonn Diary," 310-311. [BACK]

24. Ibid., 312. [BACK]

25. Ibid., 308. [BACK]

26. Ibid., 303. [BACK]

27. Ibid. [BACK]

28. Ibid., 300, 305, 306, 307. [BACK]

29. Ibid., 304. [BACK]

30. Ibid., 307. [BACK]

31. Ibid., 303-304. Absurdly, this line was given as part of the justification for the official restriction of the film to adult viewers, thus damaging the film's access to both audiences and additional funding. See Rother, "Das mühsame Geschäft," 68. [BACK]

32. Böll, "Bonn Diary," 308. [BACK]

33. Ibid., 309. [BACK]

34. Nau, "Filme Lesen," 270. [BACK]

35. Eric Rentschler, "The Use and Abuse of Memory: New German Film and the Discourse of Bitburg," New German Critique 36 (Fall 1985):76. [BACK]

36. Karsten Witte, cited in Rentschler, "Use and Abuse of Memory," 76. [BACK]

37. Rentschler, "Use and Abuse of Memory," 76. [BACK]

38. Böll, "Bonn Diary," 305. [BACK]

39. See Nau, "Filme Lesen," 266. [BACK]

40. Böll, "Bonn Diary," 305. [BACK]

41. Cited in Reinhold Rauh, " Machorka-Muff --Thema and Form," in Machorka-Muff: Jean-Marie Straubs und Danièle Huillets Verfilmung einer Satire von Henirich Böll , ed. Reinhold Rauh (Münster: MAKS, 1988), 60. [BACK]

42. Helmut Färber, "Machorka Muff" [ sic ], Filmkritik 1 (1964):36. [BACK]

43. Jean-Marie Straub, Letter to Editor, Filmkritik 4 (1964):221. [BACK]

44. Ibid. [BACK]

45. See Karsten Witte's description of the film's broadcast without either the dedication or director's credits: Im Kino. Texte vom Sehen und Hören (Frankfurt am Main: Fischer, 1985), 120. The letter protesting the television censorship appeared in Filmkritik 5/6 (1975):253. [BACK]

46. "Engel Talks to Straub," 20. [BACK]

47. See, e.g., Franz Wille, "Griechische Puppenstube," Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung , 7 May 1991. Another specific political dedication was not reported in most reviews: to "Georg von Rauch, who was murdered by the police." Wille notes that von Rauch was a member of the June 2 Movement who died under uncertain circumstances in police custody in 1971. He was the brother of Andreas von Rauch, the actor of the

role of Empedocles in the Straub/Huillet films. See Wilhelm Schmid, "Auf der Bühne steht nur der Diskurs," die tageszeitung , 7 May 1991. [BACK]

48. Straub uses the German term Filmkunstgetto in the Cahiers interview in 1966; see Delahaye, "Pornographie et cinéma," 52. See the discussion of the New German Cinema's relation to Hollywood in chap. 2. [BACK]

49. Straub, Letter to Editor, 221. [BACK]

50. On the "authors' cinema" in West Germany, see Elsaesser, NGC , esp. 74-116. [BACK]

51. See Elsaesser, NGC , 111, 237. [BACK]

52. Wilhelm Roth, "Tagebuch," Filmkritik 11 (1968):740. [BACK]

53. The script of the film is published in Filmkritik 10 (10):681-687. [BACK]

54. BWV 11, see Texte zu den Kirchenkantaten von Johann Sebastian Bach/The Texts to Johann Sebastian Bach's Church Cantatas , trans. Z. Philip Ambrose (Neuhausen-Stuttgart: Hänssler-Verlag, 1984), 48. The same work is excerpted in Chronik as well, shots 59-61. [BACK]

55. Peter Handke, "Kinonacht, Kinotiernacht," Die Zeit , 20 November 1992. [BACK]

56. Bruckner was strongly influenced by the expressionist playwright Carl Sternheim, then moved into a style of "radical naturalistic objectivity." See Ferdinand Bruckner, Pains of Youth , trans. Daphne Moore (Bath: Absolute Press, 1989). [BACK]

57. "Post-scriptum de J.-M. Straub," Cahiers du cinéma 212 (May 1969):10. [BACK]

58. Bernd Eckhardt, Rainer Werner Fassbinder: In 17 Jahren 42 Filme--Stationen eines Lebens für den deutschen Film (Munich: Heyne, 1982), 84. On Fassbinder's theater work, see also Fassbinder's Antiteater: Fünf Stücke nach Stücken , afterword by Michael Töteberg (Frankurt am Main: Verlag der Autoren, 1986); and "Die Sachen sind so, wie sie sind," Fernsehen und Film (December 1970):18ff. [BACK]

59. Wilfried Wiegand, "The Doll in the Doll: Observations on Fassbinder's Films," in Fassbinder (New York: Tanam, 1981), 26. [Translation by Ruth McCormick of the 1974 Hanser Reihe Film volume.] [BACK]

60. Wilfried Wiegand, "Interview with Rainer Werner Fassbinder," in Fassbinder (New York: Tanam, 1981), 63-64. [BACK]

61. St. John of the Cross, "Romance on the Gospel," 11. 145-149, in Antonio T. de Nicolás, St. John of the Cross: Alchemist of the Soul (New York: Paragon House, 1989), 95. The texts spoken in the film are the following: "Romance on the Gospel," 11. 145-156; "Spiritual Canticle," stanza 22 (first version) or stanza 29 (second version). [BACK]

62. Peter W. Jansen and Wolfram Schütte, eds., Herzog/Kluge/Straub (Munich: Carl Hanser Verlag, 1976), 78. [BACK]

63. Ibid., 78-79. [BACK]

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