MOSES AND AARON [Blu-ray]
Moses and Aaron finds Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, through their exemplary craft, transforming a familiar Biblical tale into a borderline-surreal cinematic opera of seemingly endless possibility. In expressive, melodic tones, the fraternal pair debate God’s true message and intent for His creations, a conflict that leads their followers — in extravagantly choreographed song and dance — towards chaos and sin. Set almost entirely within a Roman amphitheater whose history lends every precise line-reading and gesture, every startling camera move and cut, a totalizing force, Straub-Huillet’s adaptation of Schoenberg’s unfinished opera opens us to the stimulating worldview of a filmmaking duo whose masterful efforts are finally coming to light. A new 2K restoration.
• Introduction to Arnold Schoenberg’s “Accompaninment to a Cinematographic Scene” (1972, 15 minutes), a fierce condemnation of anti-Semitism and the barbaric war machine of capitalism, inspired by a letter written in 1923 by composer Arnold Schoenberg to painter Wassily Kandinsky.
• Machorka-Muff (1962, 18 minutes), a powerful, almost surreal distillation of a story by Heinrich Böll, Straub-Huillet’s debut work concerns a former Nazi colonel who takes advantage of his political and sexual status in post-war Germany.
• Not Reconciled (1964, 55 minutes), Straub-Huillet’s heralded feature debut charts the origins and legacy of Nazism, as well as the moral demands of obedience and sacrifice within the German bourgeois family, in this vigorous adaptation of Heinrich Böll’s novel.
• Booklet with essay by Ted Fendt, editor of “Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet” (Austrian Film Museum / FilmmuseumSynemaPublika