Communists (Kommunisten), Dir. Jean-Marie Straub, Switzerland/France, 2014, 70 min., French, English and Italian with English subtitles
In the 2014 short film The Algerian War! (La Guerre d'Algérie!) – intended as a prologue to Communists – Straub reflects on his own refusal to fight in the Algerian War via a story written by psychoanalyst Jean Sandretto about a man, who, having served as a soldier, is confronted by a ghost from his past.
Also from 2014, Communists (Kommunisten) is a compilation which brings together a newly shot segment with sequences from several of Straub and Huillet’s previous films. Thematically, the collected sequences concern forms of resistance against oppression: from Communist prisoners defying their Fascist interrogators to Italian partisans fighting against the Nazi occupation to the anti-colonial opposition and class struggle in Egypt. Communists is comprised of six sequences which are organised like musical movements. The first is based on Days of Wrath, André Malraux’s 1936 novel about a Communist writer named Kessner who escapes a concentration camp and must live with the terror of its memory. This is followed by other sequences from Straub-Huillet films which were based on the novels of Elio Vittorini, Franco Fortini and Friedrich Hölderlin: The Hope (Workers, Peasants, 2001), The People (Too Early/Too Late, 1981), The Apuan Alps (Fortini/Cani, 1976), The Communist Utopia (The Death of Empedocles, 1987) and New World (Black Sin, 1989).
This screening includes the UK premiere of Jean-Marie Straub’s People of the Lake (2018), based a novel by Janine Massard in which a man reflects on his youth, growing up as part of a fishing family on the coast of Lake Geneva during the Occupation.
The Algerian War (La Guerre d'Algérie!), Dir. Jean-Marie Straub, France, 2014, 2 min., French with English subtitles.
Communists (Kommunisten), Dir. Jean-Marie Straub, Switzerland/France, 2014, 70 min., French, English and Italian with English subtitles.
People of the Lake (Gens du lac), Dir. Jean-Marie Straub, Switzerland, 2018, 19 min., French with English subtitles