quarta-feira, 13 de setembro de 2006

From: Tag Gallagher


A new film by Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, Quei loro incontri ("Those encounters of theirs"), had its world premier a few days ago in competition at the Venice Film Festival. The movie's dialogue consists of the last five dialogues of Cesare Pavese's Dialoghi con Leucò ("Dialogues with Leuco"). The Straubs did not show up for their press conference; instead they sent a bunch of their actors who left Pisa at 4 a.m. to be there. Festival director Marco Müller announced Danièle was ill and that Straub had sent a statement, which one of the actresses read:

Three messages
Jean-Marie Straub

First) It’s come too soon for our death - too late for our life.
Anyway, I thank Marco Müoller for his courage. But what do I expect from it? Nothing. Nothing at all? Yes, a small revenge. A revenge “against the intrigues of the court,” as is said in The Golden Coach. Against so many ruffians.
Why Pavese? Because he wrote: “Communist doesn’t mean just wanting to be. We’re too ignorant in this country. We need communists who aren’t ignorant, who don’t spoil the name.” Or again: “If once it was enough to have a bonfire to make it rain, or to burn a vagabond on one to save a harvest, how many owners’ houses need to be burnt down, how many owners killed in the streets and squares, before the world turns just and we have our words to say?”
Pavese has the bastard say: “The other day I passed by the Mora. The pine tree by the gate’s not there anymore.” Replies Nuto: “The bookkeeper had it cut down -- Nicoletto, that ignorant man. He had it cut down because the tramps would stop in its shade and beg, you understand…”
Again Nuto, elsewhere: “With the living he makes, I can't hold it against him. If it were useful, the first need is for the government to burn money and anyone who defends it.”
Best wishes.

Second) Besides I wouldn’t be able to be festive in a festival where there are so many public and private police looking for a terrorist - I am the terrorist, and I tell you, paraphrasing Franco Fortini: so long as there’s American imperialistic capitalism, there’ll never be enough terrorists in the world.

Third) I have been: 1. at the Venice Festival (as journalist) in 1954, I chose to write on three films: Sancho Dayu - El Rio y la Muerte - Rear Window. No prizes!
2. At the Festival (short films) in 1953 with my first film Machorka-Muff (‘62): no prize.
3. At the Festival in ‘66 with Nichtversöhnt (Not Reconciled, 1965). Projection paid for by Godard!
4. At the Festival with Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach !
5. At Venice for retrospective in 1975 (wanted by Gambetti) of all our films up to Moses and Aron (included), 1974.
At the Festival of Cinematographic Art with Quei loro incontri for A Roaring Lion.

Marco then closed the Press Conference without any of the actors getting a chance to say a word. (Straub's quotes from Pavese are from Pavese's La luna e i falò [The moon and the bonfires], which the Straubs filmed in 1979 as part of Dalla nube alla resistenza [From the cloud to the Resistance].)

2) This caused a furor in the Italian press and at the festival. Virtually unreported outside of Italy. Nontheless the jury (headed by Catherine Deneuve, probably inspired by Paolo Branco) wanted to give a special Roaring Lion to the Straubs. But one jury member, American Cameron Crowe objected because of 9/11 and consented to the award on his understanding that the Festival would "distance" itself from Straub's "anti-American" message. (Apparently it's anti-American to oppose imperialism.)

3) The award was given -- for "innovation in language" (in essence, for their lives' work), but the announcement of "distance" was not made -- thank goodness! We have nothing to fear from the world being filled with "terrorists" such as Straub defines himself -- people making movies like Straub. But we have everything to fear from neo-McCarthyism like Crowe's, that seeks to hinge an artist award on an endorsement of imperialism.

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