Trop tôt, Trop tard/Too Soon, Too Late (Danièle Huillet/Jean-Marie Straub/1981)

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8:30 pm/monday/april 7th/2014
black hole cinematheque/1038 24th street x linden/oakland

Trop tôt, trop tard/Too Soon, Too Late
(Danièle Huillet/Jean-Marie Straub/1981/105 mins/digital projection)

“Opening upon one of the most memorable shots ever filmed, Trop tôt, trop tard is an essay on the often tentative, yet urgent conditions of revolution. Shot in France and Egypt, the film employs a diptych structure as it attempts to (quite literally) catch the wind of past revolutions, using the writings of Friedrich Engels and Mahmoud Hussein.” (Cinematheque Ontario)

“Too Soon, Too Late inverts the usual relationship in a Straub-Huillet film between landscape and text – the landscape becoming the film’s central text, the verbal text becoming the film’s “setting”. Practically speaking, this reduces the relative importance of the verbal texts in the films – although when I mentioned this notion to Straub, he countered that nevertheless the film could never have been made without those texts.”

“The uncontrolled movements of people, animals and weather function on this terrain like improvisations that play against the “composed” framings and camera movements, somewhat in the manner of jazz. When I proposed this parallel to Straub, he replied that a principal reference point for him and Huillet while shooting the second part of Too Soon, Too Late was the late quartets of Beethoven – particularly the use of suspensions and slow tempos. The very slow pans, according to Dave Kehr, always move in the same direction as the wind, and it is largely the sense one has of the film’s profound attentiveness to the material world that makes the film so singular a documentary – calling to mind the three living quotations cited by Straub before the screening of the film at the Collective for Living Cinema on April 30, 1983:

D. W. Griffith at the end of his life: “What modern movies lack is the wind in the trees.”

Rosa Luxembourg: “The fate of insects is not less important than the revolution.”

Cézanne, who painted Mont Saint-Victoire again and again: “Look at this mountain, once it was fire.”

(Jonathan Rosenbaum from his notes on the film

http://sensesofcinema.com/2000/6/soon/)

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free and open to the public

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