A Biblical Tale Turns Operatic in Trailer for Restoration of Straub-Huillet’s ‘Moses and Aaron’

Written by on July 18, 2017 

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The long-scarce, oft-praised work of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet has found a home with Grasshopper Film, whose first release will be the duo’s 1973 cinematic opera Moses and Aaron. The picture, based on Arnold Schoenberg’s unfinished rendition of the Biblical tale, is set largely within a Roman amphitheater, this approach and design resulting in a surreal vision of the well-trod ground that is its central conflict — extremely austere on the face of it, yet with an oddly comic temperament (e.g. one scene outright recalling a ZAZ movie) humming right below the surface.

Moses and Aaron will come to DVD and Blu-ray this November, with theatrical bookings along the way; thus there is now a trailer showcasing the 2K restoration, particularly glowing appraisals from luminaries such as Chantal Akerman and Thom Andersen, and a decent preview of Straub-Huillet’s intoxicating, bizarre style.

Watch the preview below:

Moses and Aaron finds Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet, through their exemplary craft, transforming a familiar Biblical tale into a 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.


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