Workers, Peasants (2001, 123 min.)
Gilles Deleuze remarked that your image is a “stone” and your take is a “tomb”. The earth is abandoned and yet, as it were, it is filled with generations of corpses. When, for example, towards the end of Operai, contadini, you make a long sweeping pan across the hillside, the physical space comes across as being strangely humanised in the light of what was said beforehand. The hillside seems to be populated by people. Hence history becomes the humanization of nature. What is “human” in this panning shot, and what is “nature”?
Image from Operai, contadini [Workers, Peasants] (Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, 2001)
Excerpt from A Thousand Cliffffs (2014), an interview with Jean-Marie Straub by Marhöfer and Mikhail Lylov.
With thanks to Oscar Pedersen, Viktor Retoft and Balthazar.
This article was originally published in Balthazar no. 9, 2023, dedicated to the work of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub.