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29 days to watch

Moses and Aaron

Moses und Aron

West Germany, Austria, 1975
Musical, History
  • German
  • English
A Straub-Huillet Retrospective

Synopsis

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.

Our take

One of Straub-Huillet’s most iconic films, their bold approach to cinematic adaptation was to record live singing in the desert in order to spark a direct encounter between viewer and Schoenberg’s profound music. The libretto’s drama is as important: a tale of leadership, rebellion, and miracles.

Moses and Aaron Directed by Danièle Huillet, Jean-Marie Straub Watch now
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Critics reviews

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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