Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Death (but not of cinema)

I'm not particularly well-acquainted with the films of Straub and Huillet, just a small handful, but the news of Danièle Huillet's recent death comes as a painful blow for those who would hope to make a better world (and make or advocate art that can help in that struggle). I can't say anything meaningful about Huillet's passing right now--and anyway Andy has already said a few words very well, so I can only endorse what he wrote, from my vantage point, which is less informed about the Straubs than his.

Who in cinema has left us these last few years (in this PB, Post-Bresson, age)? Andre De Toth, Jean Rouch, Walerian Borowczyk, Stan Brakhage, Maurice Pialat, to name a few that hit hard for me. Giants who aren't walking the earth any longer. But I suppose the cinema would not be the cinema without the threat of death and loss looming all around it--inside and outside of it. That's something John Ford might have understood better than anyone, and the Straubs, great admirers of Ford, surely had a enviable grasp of this basic truth. I find something oddly compelling in the fact that, at this moment, this by-all-reports fundamentally symbiotic filmmaking couple is now straddling the divide between the living (Straub) and the dead (Huillet). Jean-Marie Straub will never read this, but, regardless, I offer these images of Fordian communion ...

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