Eyes Do Not Want to Close at All Times, or Perhaps One Day Rome Will Permit Herself to Choose in Her Turn
(Les Yeux ne veulent pas en tout temps se fermer ou Peut-être qu’un jour Rome se permettra de choisir à son tour)
Erik Ulman, a composer and lecturer in music at Stanford University, writes on music, poetry, and film; he co-directs, with Marcia Scott, the arts organization Poto.
Adriano Aprà, Anne Brumagne, Olimpia Carlisi, Anthony Pensabene,
Straub-Huillet’s first film after leaving Germany for Rome announced a new approach to staging classical texts, both for the duo and for cinema. Adapting a seventeenth-century play by Pierre Corneille, itself based on imperial Roman power struggles, Straub and Huillet dutifully place their actors in the appropriate togas and forum setting, but then quickly destroy all tropes of the historical movie. Rome’s very contemporary (and ear-splitting) traffic jams are clearly seen and heard, while the Italian cast trips over Corneille’s classic French verse. Historical eras, languages, and adaptations crash together; what remains is the text, and Rome, eternal
Every Revolution Is a Throw of the Dice
(Toute révolution est un coup de dés)
Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet, France, 1977
Colleagues recite Stéphane Mallarmé’s 1897 poem near the Parisian cemetery where, a century earlier, members of the Paris Commune were massacred.