Dir. Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet; West Germany; 1963; 18m
The Bridegroom, the Comedienne and the Pimp
Dir. Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet; West Germany; 1968; 23m
Dir. Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet; West Germany; 1965; 55m
In 1966, Dan and Toby Talbot went to a party thrown by Bertolucci and his friend and co-writer Gianni Amico in Rome. Suddenly, the bell rang. “Shh-sh,” said Bertolucci. “Get rid of the pot! Put the drinks away. The Straubs are here!” That someone would pick up any single film directed by Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet is utterly unthinkable in the context of the present moment, but for decades New Yorker Films handled all of them. These three films, often shown together, are among their very best: an idiosyncratic adaptation of Heinrich Böll’s short story “Bonn Diary,” about a former Nazi colonel cynically reflecting on the sheer stupidity of the bourgeoisie; a three-part short comprised of a nocturnal tour of Munich, a high-speed stage production of Bruckner’s Sickness of Youth, and the marriage of James and Lilith, who guns down her pimp (played by Rainer Werner Fassbinder); and their stunning, thrillingly compressed adaptation of Böll’s novel Billiards at Half-Past. A Grasshopper Film release.