Danièle Huillet (1936-2006) and Jean-Marie Straub (1933-2022) were a French duo of filmmakers who made about twenty films together between 1963 and 2006. Their partnership resulted in a beautiful and demanding oeuvre, which deeply affected the history of cinema. The work of Straub and Huillet is characterised by a rigorous and uncompromising form, which often involved long takes, minimalistic aesthetics, and a focus on text and performance.
This Week’s Agenda
Until May, Cinema RITCS presents The Power of Belgian Cinema, 11 lectures by Belgian scholars on important movements, films and directors in Belgian film history. On Tuesday 5 March, ULB’s Dominique Nasta will be giving a lecture on the magic realist cinema of André Delvaux, followed by a screening of De man die zijn haar kort liet knippen. Although reactions by the Belgian press were rather lukewarm when Delvaux’s debut was released in 1965, it was well received abroad. Particularly in France, where Jean-Luc Godard and Alain Resnais admired the film for its inventive articulation of time and memory. Delvaux’s compatriots eventually reviewed their opinion. The film is now considered a pinnacle of modernist Belgian film history.
With a screening of John Ford’s The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) at Palace on Thursday 7 March, we turn to the Western frontier. Having worked together with John Wayne on ten features, Ford is largely responsible for the mythology of the Western as we know it today. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance is routinely referred to as the last great Ford film. It sets itself apart from previous Ford films as it tells a story about the modernisation of the West, and the end of the “character” of the cowboy. While Ford is famous for shooting on location in Monument Valley, this film was shot in black and white at the sound stages of Paramount Studios, for financial reasons according to cinematographer William Clothier. At that time, Hollywood’s well-oiled machine began to fall apart.
Set in the 1950s, The Dupes (1972) traces the destinies of three Palestinian refugees brought together by their dispossession, despair and hope for a better future. The protagonists try to make their way across the border from Iraq into Kuwait, the “Promised Land,” concealed in the steel tank of a truck. Based on the 1962 novella Men in the Sun by the assassinated resistance leader Ghassan Kanafani, this is one of the first Arab films to address the Palestinian question. It was banned in several Arab countries due to its implied criticism of Arab governments. The film will be screened at Cinema ZED on Friday 8 March.