First meeting as cinephile students in 1954 Paris, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet became husband-and-wife filmmaking collaborators, generating a politically and aesthetically provocative body of work made largely outside of official funding bodies, and suggesting a desire to reinvent the art of motion pictures from scratch. With Straub’s death in 2022, there would be no new films in the inimitable style he helped create, but those left behind remain monuments of European cinema, simultaneously severe, gorgeous, and finally, totally not reconciled to the dictates of commercial cinema. Survey the entire scope of an inimitable filmography that constitutes one of the glories of European cinema.
Straub and Huillet’s startlingly original experimental adaptation of Heinrich Böll’s 1959 novel Billiards at Half-Past Nine.
A landmark achievement in the musician biopic that puts most formulaic efforts in that line to shame.
A condensed, intricately shot version of Ferdinand Bruckner’s 1926 play, starring Rainer Werner Fassbinder.
Straub and Huillet’s first film shot in Italy, describing the machinations and scheming that followed the death of Emperor Nero.
Straub and Huillet’s anachronistic historical drama, based on Brecht’s experimental novel The Business Affairs of Mr Julius Caesar.
A ringing, righteous denouncement of anti-Semitism.
Among Straub and Huillet’s supreme achievements, an awesomely austere adaptation of innovative Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg’s unfinished opera of the same title.
Straub and Huillet draw from an essay by Franco Fortini, one of the most important intellectuals of the Italian New Left.
A collection of Straub and Huillet’s friends take turns reading from a poem by Stéphane Mallarmé.
Two texts by Italian poet, essayist, and novelist Cesare Pavese form the foundation of Straub and Huillet’s dazzling bifurcated film.
Straub and Huillet explore parallels between Egypt in its struggle against colonial rule and the powder keg atmosphere of pre-revolutionary France.
Straub and Huillet’s charming adaptation of Marguerite Duras’s 1971 children’s story Ah! Ernesto.
Straub and Huillet’s nightmare-vivid adaptation of Franz Kafka’s incomplete novel Amerika.
A film in dialogue with the work of one of Straub and Huillet’s less likely influences, D.W. Griffith.
Straub and Huillet’s first adaptation of Friedrich Hölderlin’s play about a suicidal Greek philosopher.
The Greek philosopher Empedocles throws himself into the mouth of Sicily’s volcanic Mount Etna to prove his immortality.
Straub and Huillet’s rich and lovely tribute to the painter Paul Cézanne.
Bertolt Brecht’s adaptation of Sophocles’s Antigone performed in its entirety; Straub and Huillet’s final film set in the ancient world.
A screwball comedy-inspired reworking of an opera by Straub and Huillet touchstone Arnold Schönberg.
Straub and Huillet’s masterpiece tragicomedy follows a Sicilian returning to his native island after a long stay in New York.
Straub and Huillet’s stirring ode to resistance, comprised of a chorus of readings from anti-fascist modernist Elio Vittorini’s novel Women of Messina.
Elio Vittorini’s 1949 novel Women of Messina provided the inspiration for these paired films, both of which focus on a peasant community in postwar Italy.
Actor Dolando Bernardini delivers a stirring a cappella performance of the 1581 epic poem Jerusalem Delivered.
The last film made by Straub and Huillet is an elegant, elegiac work of oral history.
The story of two distant lovers united by a shared love for Bach’s Cantata 140 (“Sleepers Wake”).
A conscientious objector to his country’s war in Algeria, Straub brings a personal perspective to this late film about an ex-soldier who encounters a ghost.
Straub’s beguiling cosmic, involving a fish tank in a Chinese restaurant in Paris.