The short En rachâchant
is based on Marguerite Duras’s 1971 children’s book Ah! Ernesto!
about a determined nine-year-old boy who one day refuses to go to school ‘because in school they teach me things I don’t know’, thus renouncing all forms of authority. The film, shot in black and white by the great cinematographer Henri Alekan (Beauty and the Beast, Wings of Desire
) was, according to Straub, a preparatory exercise and instigator for their following film, Class Relations
‘Capitalism is a system of dependencies’ said Kafka, and his unfinished novel The Man Who Disappeared
, on which Class Relations
is based, chronicles ‘a world where a sense of justice has no place’ (Huillet). The film was shot in Germany (with one sequence filmed in the United States) and follows the path of the young German bourgeois Karl Rossman, who, forced by his parents to emigrate to America, an idealised land of opportunity, keeps finding himself involved in strange adventures, in situations of injustice and oppression, pushed around, defenceless yet still striving forward. ‘Kafka, for us, is the only major poet of industrial civilisation, I mean, a civilisation where people depend on their work to survive. That’s why there is this permanent fear of losing your job, there are traces left by the fact of having been afraid, and there is constantly misery that appears and is threatening’, said Straub.
, Dirs: Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, France, 1983, 35mm/DCP, b&w, 7 min. In French with English subtitles.
, Class Relations, Dirs: Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub, West Germany, 1984, 35mm/DCP, b&w, 130 min. In German with English subtitles.
Presented as part of The Films of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet