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A Straub-Huillet Companion: “Communists”

A Straub-Huillet Companion is a series of short essays on the films of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, subject of a Mubi retrospective. Jean-Marie Straub's Communists (2014) is showing on Mubi from October 8 – November 6, 2019.The souls of all my dears have flown to the stars.Thank God there’s no one left for me to lose–so I am free to cry. This air is madefor the echoing of songs.—Excerpt from Anna Akhmatova's The Return (1944)In the final shot of Jean-Marie Straub's Communists (2014), Danièle Huillet sits alone on in the dirt, high up on Mount Etna in Sicily and all but static, as Beethoven's String Quartet No. 16—his last major work before his death from alcohol cirrhosis—swells around her. She is strikingly still, staring off ahead as if stupefied by the living world. After a long pause, she says two words: "neue Welt"—new world.This reanimation of Huillet,

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