“Actors Simply Explode”: To Act in the Cinema of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet

Ramos Martinez, Manuel. 2016. “Actors Simply Explode”: To Act in the Cinema of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet. Camera Obscura, 31(2), pp. 93-117. ISSN 0270-5346 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

This essay examines the political significance of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet's work with actors in their cinema practice. Straub and Huillet's acting methodology is an essential aspect of their cinema and its struggle to undo militaristic, patriarchal, and capitalist modes of communication. The author identifies and analyzes key characteristics of this methodology, using them to mount a critique of the normative function of the amateur or nonprofessional actor in art cinema and socially committed cinemas. The creation of a generative encounter between actors and texts, a vocal training that works against the dictates of standard punctuation, and the organization of a discipline to act are the main components of a methodology that refuses to obey a specific martial order of reading, speaking, and acting. Attending to Straub and Huillet's comments on their methods, the essay envisages other resonances that such acting can have in thinking about freedom and constraint within the political and economic spheres of Western culture.

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Visual Cultures



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Date Deposited:

21 Mar 2016 11:07

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:23

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Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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