The final Straub-Huillet film in an uncompromising and brilliant career, L’Itinéraire de Jean Bricard is a stunning adaptation of Jean-Yves Petiteau’s book about a French resistance fighter. Masterfully shot in lustrous, silvery black and white by William and Irina Lubtchansky, the film begins with an awesome, swirling long take of an island in La Loire, where Bricard lived during the Occupation. Placing us in the boat, with its motor whirling away like a projector before a wondrous, ever-changing view of glistening waters and trees in symmetry, the film’s circular motion makes clear the cycles of history. Sudden intrusions of Bricard’s narration (recorded by Petiteau in 1994) break through the natural surface, taking us through the region’s fishing and agricultural past in the Thirties, through the heinous trespasses of the Occupation and the brave, covert actions of the Resistance. L’Itinéraire exemplifies what Serge Daney famously said about Straub-Huillet: “Where there has been resistance, one must shoot.” —Cinematheque Ontario
Danièle Huillet was born on May 1, 1936 in France. After she had just finished high school in the 1950s, she met Jean-Marie Straube and both their professional and private lives have been closely intertwined ever since.
In 1958 they moved to Germany, and their 1965 production Not Reconciled (Nicht versöhnt, based on a novel by Heinrich Böll) caused a scandal at the Berlinale. This film was followed by adaptations of works by Corneille (Othon, 1969) and Bertolt Brecht (History Lessons or Geschichtsunterricht, 1972) and Arnold Schönberg’s opera Moses und Aron (1974/5), each in the somewhat unpopular manner of austere exercises. A great deal of attention was aroused by the Kafka adaptation Class Relations (Klassenverhältnisse, 1983, based on the unfinished Amerika/Der Verschollene). These films were followed by others dealing with literary greats such as Hölderlin and Sophocles. Since the 1970s Danièle Huillet and Jean… read more
Filmmaker Jean-Marie Straub and Daniele Huillet, his wife and co-director, have become leading figures in New German cinema. Their films are not for passive viewers seeking light entertainment; films such as Not Reconciled or Only Violence Helps Where Violence Rules (1965) are intellectually demanding, and yet are among the most haunting films of German cinema. Prior to teaming up with Huillet, the French born Straub worked as an assistant to French directors such as Abel Gance, Jean Renoir, and Robert Bresson. He met and teamed up with Huillet in 1954. To avoid the draft, he fled to Munich, Germany in 1958 where they got involved with radical theater groups. By the early sixties he and his wife had become a prominent directors. They made their debut with the short Machorka-Muff in 1963. In 1968, their long-time friend Fassbinder appeared in The Bridegroom, the Comedienne and the Pimp. Straub and Huillet’s most famous film is Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach (1968). By the late ’60s… read more