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482 Ratings

Moses and Aaron

Moses und Aron

West Germany, Austria, 1975
Musical, History


Moses and Aaron transforms Schoenberg’s opera on the familiar Biblical tale into a borderline-surreal cinematic opera of seemingly endless possibility. In expressive tones, the pair debate God’s true message and intent for His creations, a conflict that leads their followers towards chaos and sin.

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Moses and Aaron Directed by Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub
This conflict between having ideas and communicating them could be the crux of Straub-Huillet’s entire body of work, which uses literary, political, and philosophical texts as its bedrock, makes Moses and Aaron one of the most crucial films in understanding the filmmakers’ oblique oeuvre.
January 04, 2018
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All the more powerful for their brevity and unexpectedness, these small additions draw attention to the central conflict with which Schoenberg was grappling . . . Unresolved tensions abound in their work, gradually extending into a great array of diverse and contrasting accents, colors, shadow and light, and costumes. This is what is radical in Straub and Huillet’s cinema and why their films are so rejuvenating, why they make us see anew.
November 16, 2017
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[The directors’] rarefied aesthetic coheres perfectly with the opera to come off as a kind of 12-tone filmmaking which, like Schoenberg’s music, reclaims a classical ideal for a progressive cause that owes nothing to nostalgia. Oblique angles, long takes, and static tableaux allow Straub and Huillet to go straight to the drama inherent in the story and the composition. The stark images are as passionate and engaging, profound and beautiful as the complex music to which they insightfully respond.
April 28, 2016
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What are people saying?

  • ada's rating of the film Moses and Aaron

    Very compelling filmed version of Schoenberg s opera. A deep meditation on kraft and macht, on the power of ideas and the power of discourse ( words and images).

  • dionysus67's rating of the film Moses and Aaron

    Ascribing contemporary relevance to the opera on the issue of faith in the (utopian) Unrepresentable and in the emancipatory Exodus, Huillet/Straub shoot in austere settings mainly in static takes and slow pans of considerable duration. The stylized acting confirms that the opposition with Aaron is doubled within Moses and action in the unconventional sense is limited to emblematic epiphanies (e.g. the golden calf).

  • Stefan Drees's rating of the film Moses and Aaron

    Straub an Huillet deliver an important visual adaptation of Arnold Schoenberg's opera fragment which contains - a special feature never realized in any other available opera films of this work or on the opera stage - the unfinished third act as addendum in spoken form.

  • El Biffo's rating of the film Moses and Aaron

    It took a leap of faith and an act of devotion for me to surrender to this. Because Moses and Aaron are singing in German, and I am not a big fan of these guys in Hebrew or English either. And I am not too hot on the whole "god" thing (or gods). But this film certainly gives pause for reflection. The visual sparseness leaves extra room for that. I'm not in love with this film or the story but its power is undeniable.

  • Gran-Hoff's rating of the film Moses and Aaron

    The materiality of words, of bodies, of icons. The struggle to attain what transcends earthly existence and its limits. The film tries to establish its discourse on the basis of a friction between time, space and matter. Dissonances and harmonies pave our way towards the infinite.

  • João Eça's rating of the film Moses and Aaron

    I really don't agree with the comments below. I think that this film is much more about Faith, God and Representation (and therefore about Images, Words and Ideas) than about politics, history or whatever. It's an operatic reflection on Cinema itself, if you want, because the problem of representation that Straub-Huillet examine is an artistic one: in this sense one can compare Art to God (as two forms of creation).

  • Not A Sexy Vampire's rating of the film Moses and Aaron

    The first half is a bit of a slog, but the second half is fascinating, particularly the climax and resolution which puts forth a number of complex ideas to ponder. How does one represent the concept of God through words? Is the best way to engage with faith through the heart or the head? Aaron's argument is coherent and sympathetic. Surprised by how gripping I found this, but the music and operatic vocals drew me in.

  • Renton47's rating of the film Moses and Aaron

    Important as I find it to regularly engage with 'difficult' art, I basically see these S/H films I have watched on mubi as an investment - first viewing I'm playing catch-up, then I read and comprehend ideas, over time (hopefully) revealing more depth as I rewatch or read the texts. Aside from Bach, this had the most coherent narrative I'd seen in their films yet, which is to say I enjoyed it as a Bible adaptation

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