Staff Picks: Harun Farocki

Staff Picks: Harun Farocki


Harun Farocki, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet at Work on Franz Kafka’s “Amerika” (still), 1983.

December 3, 2022
Staff Picks: Harun Farocki
Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet at Work on Franz Kafka’s “Amerika”
December 1–31, 2022
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Commemorating the recent passing of Jean-Marie Straub, e-flux Video & Film presents Harun Farocki’s Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet at Work on Franz Kafka’s “Amerika” (1983, 26 minutes) for the December 2022 edition of our monthly series Staff Picks.

In this short film Harun Farocki records Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet at work during the shooting of what later will be titled Class Relations (Klassenverhältnisse, 1984)—a film based on Franz Kafka’s unfinished novel Amerika—in which Farocki himself plays the role of Delamarche. Farocki’s film became both a tribute to the work of the two legendary filmmakers, who defined themselves as “artisans” in reaction against the professionalized and monetized film industry, and as Farocki pointed out, a self-portrait: at work, directed by the couple, he endlessly repeats his gestures and lines to the point of exhaustion.

This edition of Staff Picks also coincides with the inauguration of Aesthetics of Resistance: Straub-Huillet and Contemporary Moving-Image Art, a four-part series of screenings and discussions at e-flux Screening Room inspired by the works of Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub. The series opens on Decmeber 1, 3, and 6 with the first chapter, titled “In the Present, the Scripted Past Is Performed.” Please check here for more details on the program, times, and participants.

Harun Farocki’s Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet at Work on Franz Kafka’s “Amerika” streams December 1–31, 2022.

Watch it here.

About the artist
Harun Farocki (1944–2014) was born in Germany-annexed Czechoslovakia. From 1966 to 1968, he attended the Deutsche Film-und Fernsehakademie Berlin (DFFB). In addition to teaching posts in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Manila, Munich, and Stuttgart, he was a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Farocki made close to 120 short and feature-length films for television and cinema, mostly documentaries and essay films that analyzed social realities, with a precise use of moving images and focus on the political and sociological context involved in the creation of imagery. He also worked in collaboration with other filmmakers as a scriptwriter, actor, and producer. In 1976, he staged Heiner Müller’s plays The Battle and Tractor together with Hanns Zischler in Basel, Switzerland. Between 1974 to 1984, he was editor and contributing author of the magazine Filmkritik (München). His work has been shown in many exhibitions in galleries and museums worldwide. From 2000 to 2004 Farocki taught in Berlin at his former school DFFB and at the University of the Arts. In 2004 Farocki first became a visiting professor and then in 2006 a full professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. As a teacher Harun Farocki had a significant cinematic and intellectual influence on the development of the acclaimed Berlin School film movement.

About the series 
e-flux Video & Film: Staff Picks is a monthly streaming series of staff picks and recommended videos designed to disrupt the monotony of an algorithm. Before the end times of big data, we used to discover suggested content along dusty shelves in video rental stores, where Post-it notes scribbled by shift workers implored us to experience the same movies that made them guffaw, scream, or weep. Sometimes the content bored us, sometimes it overwhelmed us, and sometimes, as if by magic, it was just right. e-flux invites you to relive this rental store mode of perusal, with personalized picks curated through judgment that does not take into consideration your viewing history. 

For more information, contact program [​at​]

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December 3, 2022

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