Straub-Huillet at Work: A Screening of Harun Farocki’s and Pedro Costa’s Films

Straub-Huillet at Work: A Screening of Harun Farocki’s and Pedro Costa’s Films

Pedro Costa, Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? (still), 2001.

Aesthetics of Resistance

Straub-Huillet and Contemporary Moving-Image Art

Straub-Huillet at Work: A Screening of Harun Farocki’s and Pedro Costa’s Films

Admission starts at $5

March 11, 2023, 5pm
172 Classon Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11205

Join us at e-flux Screening Room on Saturday, March 11 at 5pm for Straub-Huillet at Work, featuring a screening of Harun Farocki’s Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet at Work on Franz Kafka’s “Amerika” and Pedro Costa’s  Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? 

Straub-Huillet at Work is a screening that features two creative documentaries on Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet. The first film, by Harun Farocki, follows the duo as they work on the adaptation of Kafka’s novel, offering a unique insight into their creative process. The second film, by Pedro Costa, captures Straub and Huillet in a more intimate setting, discussing their work and philosophy on filmmaking. Together, these two films by Farocki and Costa, who were both fascinated and inspired by the works of Straub-Huillet, provide a rare and fascinating look into the work of one of the most significant filmmaker duos of the twentieth century.

The screening constitutes the second event of Films to be Made and Unmade, the fourth chapter of Aesthetics of Resistance: Straub-Huillet and Contemporary Moving-Image Art, a series of screenings taking place at e-flux Screening Room in monthly chapters between December 2022 and March 2023. Read more on the series here.

Aesthetics of Resistance: Straub-Huillet and Contemporary Moving-Image Art is produced and organized by e-flux; with the support of the German Film Office, an initiative of the Goethe-Institut and German Films.


Harun Farocki, Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet at Work on Franz Kafka’s “Amerika” (1983, 26 minutes)
This film is at once a self-portrait and an homage to Jean-Marie Straub, Farocki’s role model and former teacher at the Film Academy. Farocki’s admiration for Straub was so great that he said of Between Two Wars: “Perhaps I only made this film to earn Straub’s recognition.” In this observation-driven film Farocki documents the fulfillment of his wish.The film shows Farocki, under Straub’s direction, rehearsing for his role as Delamarche in the film Klassenverhältnisse (Class Relations, 1983). Anyone who has seen Farocki’s documentary of the shoot will never forget these short scenes.The directing technique of Jean-Marie Straub and his wife Daniele Huillet is so repetitive and detail-obsessed that the performers are made to rehearse the scenes to the point of exhaustion. Straub manages his actors like a theater director.The very fact that it is unusual among filmmakers makes it well worth having captured Straub’s working methods on film. Farocki filmed a work of resistance against traditional cinema, against which his own films rebel. (Tilman Baumgärtel)

Pedro Costa, Where Does Your Hidden Smile Lie? (2001, 107 minutes)
Undaunted by a commission to make a film about mentors and aesthetic exemplars Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, Pedro Costa (Vitalina Varela) recorded with great sensitivity and insight the exacting process by which the two re-edit their film Sicilia!, discussing and arguing over each cut and its effect. Incorporating comments about the influence of figures as diverse as Chaplin and Eisenstein, the ethical and aesthetic implications of film technique, and such matters as rhythm, sound mixing, and acting, the film becomes a tour de force, immersing us in the mysteries of cinema as practiced by some of its greatest creators. Costa calls the film both his first comedy and his first love story.

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–Two flights of stairs lead up to the building’s front entrance at 172 Classon Avenue. 
–For elevator access, please RSVP to The building has a freight elevator which leads into the e-flux office space. Entrance to the elevator is nearest to 180 Classon Ave (a garage door). We have a ramp for the steps within the space.          
–e-flux has an ADA-compliant bathroom. There are no steps between the Screening Room and this bathroom.

Film, Aesthetics
Documentary, Experimental Film
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Aesthetics of Resistance: Straub-Huillet and Contemporary Moving-Image Art

Harun Farocki (1944–2014) was born in German-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.

Pedro Costa (b. 1959, Portugal) studied history at Lisbon University and then worked as an assistant to Jorge Silva Melo, Vítor Gonçalves, and João Botelho. He made his debut at the age of thirty with Blood, which marked the start of a striking and highly praised oeuvre about people on the fringes of society. His film Cavalo Dinheiro was awarded the Leopard for Best Director in 2014, while his Vitalina Varela was awarded the Gold Leopard for Best Film in 2019, both at the Locarno Film Festival.

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