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A text is spoken; it merges the sphere of ideas, from which it comes, with an immediate and sensible sphere of bodies that give life to them, with a nature that sustains these bodies, and that they in turn nourish by naming it. The body, in which language resonates, becomes the body of the text itself and protracts its speaking.Here trees are trees and become trees. We learn by taking pleasure in the sublime essence of colors (leaf-green, earth-brown, sky-blue, bronzed-skin...), of timbres (voices, birds, steps...), of textures (flesh, fabric, earth...), the irreversibility of gestures. These shots are rich in their concerted poverty: here’s how. —Anne Benhaïem from introduction to Conception of a FilmSequence Press is pleased to announce the publication of the writings of the filmmaking couple Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, presented for the first time in a critical, English-language edition. Two of the most exacting directors of the past fifty years, Straub and Huillet are renowned for their meticulous adaptations of works by giants of Western art and literature: Sophocles, Corneille, Bach, Hölderlin, Cézanne, Brecht, Schoenberg, Kafka, Pavese, et al. The publication coincides with the first complete U.S. retrospective of their films opening on May 6 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the concurrent exhibition, Films and Their Sites, at Miguel Abreu Gallery.Jean-Marie Straub came of age as a slightly younger contemporary of the French New Wave. Like those directors, he began his career writing film criticism. “Writing about films,” Jean-Luc Godard later said, “was already a way of making films.” This volume thus begins with Straub’s early film criticism from the 1950s and traces the evolution of over five decades of writing activity, from manifestoes and trenchant declaratory texts, to detailed descriptions of working methods, letters, questionnaires and select interviews and oral interventions. Writings opens with an introduction by Sally Shafto that provides an in-depth look at Straub and Huillet’s beginnings, within the context of the emergent filmmaking forces of the time. The book highlights their rigorous methodologies as translators of key texts, and the precision work required to adapt those translations for the screen. As Straub himself said, “We are the only European filmmakers, filmmakers of European nations. We make films in Italian as well as in French and in German. Who else can say that?” The book brings us behind the scenes and reveals how their publication practices mirrored those of their film production and distribution, as they often made distinct versions of the same film using alternative takes and different languages.In addition to the published texts, the book comprises a richly illustrated Atelier section featuring three full length annotated film scripts, along with other pieces of writing, such as letters to their collaborators, shooting diagrams and schedules, lab notes, and press kits, all of which bring the reader into the heart of Huillet and Straub’s creative process. The volume closes with a Portfolio of intimate photographs of the filmmakers at work, with onsite observations by their long-time director of photography and collaborator, Renato Berta, and a detailed filmography.Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet resolutely eschewed a Hollywood style of spectacle filmmaking to create some of the most raw and beautiful, as well as innovative and profoundly moving films of our times. Their writings open up a further understanding of their essential contributions, and their unique place in film history.ContentsForeword by Miguel AbreuAcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Filmmakers at Work by Sally Shafto List of Films TEXTS— 1950s1. The 15th Venice Film Festival Began Brilliantly with the Americans 2. Grisbi, the Japanese, and Buñuel’s Genius 3. Does Rossellini’s Work Have a Christian Meaning? 4. Five New Films by Rossellini 5. Clouzot Smears the Viewer; Hitchcock Exalts the Public 6. Who Is Nicholas Ray? 7. Status of the New Filmmaker — 1960s8. Once Upon a Time There Was a Little Filmmaker 9. Portrait and Character 10. M= M 11. The Second Oberhausen Manifesto 12. Not “Performing,” Reciting 13. Frustration of Violence 14. Encounter with the New German Cinema 15. The Bach Film 16. Questionnaire on Film and Narrative 17. Straub Autobiography 18. Presentation of Not Reconciled 19. I Have Always Been Horrified … 20. Peter Nestler, a Documentarian Not Reconciled 21. On Ernst Lubitsch 22. Protest 23. The Bridegroom, the Actress, and the Pimp 24. Introduction to Nestler 25. Ferocious 26. Mao’s Last Judgment 27. Eliminate the System and the State — 1970s28. Introduction to Othon 29. Dubbing Is Murder 30. Othon: Presentation for Its Broadcast on German Television31. Filmcritica, Eisenstein, Brecht 32. “Not Reconciled” with Television Censorship 33. Filmmaking Must Retain Teamwork … 34. Filmography of Jean-Marie Straub 35. On The Business Affairs of Mr. Julius Caesar 36. Interview on Direct Sound 37. Small Historical Excursus 38. Letter to the Export Union of German Cinema 39. David Wark Griffith, Flower of the American Bourgeoisie 40. Huillet Autobiography 41. To Kluge — 1980s42. Letter to Jean Narboni 43. Witches (The Chimera?) 44. How to “Correct” Nostalgia 45. Letter to Fred Camper 46. Reagan at Bitburg 47. Fire: Alfred Edel 48. Letter to Wim Wenders 49. An Attack on the Reproducibility of a Work of Art 50. Hölderlin, That Is Utopia 51. Cézanne/Empedocles/Hölderlin/von Arnim 52. Conference: Conception of a Film 53. Filmcritica Is the Only Italian Review … — 1990s54. S.D. 55. Quite a Lot of Pent-Up Anger … 56. Interview on Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach 57. Debate on Images and Virtual Reality 58. Interview on Images and Magic 59. To the Inhabitants Alive and Dead of Hiroshima and Nagasaki60. Interview: No Appeasement 61. Autofilmography — 2000s62. Letter About La Vallée close 63. Questionnaire on Globalization 64. Frans van de Staak Has Died … 65. My Key Dates 66. Questionnaire on May 1968 67. Action Directe 68. The Oil Spill 69. Three Messages to the 63rd Venice International Film Festival Work Journal for Moses and Aaronby Gregory Woods with Annotations by Danièle Huillet ATELIERLetter to Renato Berta for Fortini/Cani Itinerary for Too Early,Too Late Letter to Willy Lubtchansky and Caroline Champetier for Too Early,Too Late Diagrams for The Death of Empedocles Shooting Schedule for Cézanne Lab Notes for Cézanne Negative Cutting Notes for Cézanne Sound Mix Notes for Cézanne Homage to Louis Hochet Shooting Notes for From Today until Tomorrow Letter to Willy Lubtchansky and Itinerary for Sicilia! Location Notes for Sicilia! Letter to Willy Lubtchansky About Sicilia!Press Kit for Antigone Annotated Script for Antigone Press Kit for Workers, Peasants Annotated Script for Workers, Peasants Press Kit for A Visit to the LouvreAnnotated Script for A Visit to the Louvre Letter to Julie Koltaï for Her Birthday Press Kit for These Encounters of Theirs Annotated Script for These Encounters of Theirs PORTFOLIO by Renato Berta Filmography Compendium of the Writings Selected Bibliography Index of Names Credits
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