Films by Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, Megan Fraser and Redmond Entwistle

March 7 — March 19, 2008

Beginning on Friday, March 7th, Miguel Abreu Gallery is pleased to present a fortnight of films by Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, Megan Fraser and Redmond Entwistle.

Combining a series of evening screenings of Straub-Huillet films from the 1960s and 70s with recent works by Megan Fraser and Redmond Entwistle, the exhibition will also display during the day Tour d’Ombres, a new film installation by Fraser along with excerpts from Straub-Huillet’s annotated script for A Visit to the Louvre from 2004. An etched glass ‘film poster’ by Redmond Entwistle will also be exhibited in the gallery for the duration of the show.

The first two Straub-Huillet films in the series, Not Reconciled and The Bridegroom, the Comedienne and the Pimp, are from the period when the filmmakers were living in Germany and working with German texts and history as their subject matter. In this instance, the Heinrich Böll novel, Billiards at Half-Past-Nine and the continuity of German militarism into the post-war era as well as the American military presence in West Germany.

The following two films by Straub-Huillet were made after their move to Italy in 1969, but both films look back to Germany. Introduction to Arnold Schoenberg’s “Accompaniment to a Cinematographic Scene” documents Schoenberg’s aesthetic and political crises during the rise of fascism, and History Lessons films Bertolt Brecht’s unfinished novel The Business Affairs of Mr. Julius Caesar with German actors against the backdrop of contemporary Rome and the surrounding countryside.

The five accompanying works by the young British filmmakers, Megan Fraser and Redmond Entwistle, draw on Straub-Huillet’s precedent in their treatment of cinema as a material practice through which to engage sites of history and cultural production.

Megan Fraser’s Arkhé, a study of the last days of the Medical Museum at the Royal London Hospital, uses the process of filming as an intervention into the visual order of the institution. As the architecture and ways of viewing are dismantled, the film brings a new way of looking to these bodies that were only intended for a medical eye.

Redmond Entwistle’s Paterson – Lodz reconstructs the complex history of immigration and political movements of two silk factory towns in Poland and New Jersey at the start of the 20th Century. Fragments of historical narration overlay images of glass impressions of the ground, and both are set against soundscapes of the two cities in the present that fill the space of the gallery/cinema.

The image of the city and its possible reification or dissolution are important themes in the three other films.

In Megan Frazer’s Tour d’Ombres, a laborer chips away at a building, and we are left unclear as to whether this action constitutes an attempt at repairing or destroying Le Corbusier’s monumental project for a city in Chandagar, India.

Redmond Entwistle’s Social Visions portrays Los Angeles through a series of panoramic photographs, cliched op-eds from the Los Angeles Times, along with personal histories constructing a paradoxical space and temporality of the image in which erasure and development emerge as a defining character of the city.

In Megan Fraser’s Ford Square, children from a local Muslim religious school – Madrassa – play a game of soccer in a residential square. Filmed from one fixed position over the course of a day, the film captures the rhythm of their play against the growing skyline of city development.

In confluence with Straub-Huillet’s longstanding commitment to German poet, Friedrich Hölderlin, Valeria Bonacci (University of Paris, Sorbonne), will deliver a lecture, Language and History in the Work of Friedrich Hölderlin, on Wednesday, March 12th.