Capital Celluloid 2013 - Day 261: Wed Sep 18

This double-bill is part of the 70x70 season. London writer, filmmaker and 'psychogeographer' Iain Sinclair celebrates his 70th birthday year, with the showing of 70 films, handpicked for their association with his work and shown in venues all over London. Here you can find a full list of the excellent programme.

Here is the Goethe Institute introduction: Straub-Huillet’s three-part short The Bridegroom, the Comedienne and the Pimp, in which R.W. Fassbinder plays the pimp, is shown with the collaborative film Germany in Autumn made in response to the RAF terror-related events in 1977, including the Baader-Meinhof deaths in  Stammheim. Interviewed by Iain Sinclair, Astrid Proll, a RAF terrorist in hiding in London at the time, recalled that the news of the deaths reached her as she was driving through Hackney Wick.

University of Nebraska review of The Bridegroom, The Actress and The Pimp:
One of the most beautiful and enigmatic of all films is Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet’s The Bridegroom, The Comedienne and The Pimp (1968), a 23 minute short film comprised of only eleven shots. As I wrote of this film on IMDb, “three sequences are linked together in this short film by Straub [and Huillet]; the first sequence is a long tracking shot from a car of prostitutes plying their trade on the night-time streets of Germany; the second is a staged play [Ferdinand Bruckner's Krankheit der Jugend], cut down to 10 minutes by Straub [and Huillet], photographed in a single take; the final sequence covers the marriage of James [James Powell] and Lilith, and Lilith’s subsequent execution of her pimp, played by Rainer Werner Fassbinder.”

This brief description does little justice to the mysterious resonance of the film, composed as it is of such disparate elements; the still [here] is taken from the final sequence of the film, directly after Lilith (Lilith Ungerer) has shot Fassbinder’s pimp, and dispassionately recites some poems of John of the Cross, as the camera tracks past her to come to rest on a shot of a tree in full summer. The best discussion of The Bridegroom, The Comedienne and The Pimp remains Richard Roud’s careful consideration of the film in his 1972 book Straub, illustrated with numerous frame blow-ups; sadly, the book is out of print
Wheeler Dixon


Chicago Reader review of Germany in Autumn:
Made in response to the terrorist kidnapping of German industrialist Hanns-Martin Schleyer in 1977, this compilation film marks attitudes ranging from concern to irony to despair among its eight directors. It is, of course, wildly uneven (and sometimes insufferable), but there's an urgency and engagement in each of the episodes. Rainer Werner Fassbinder's section is perhaps the best, in part because it's the most personal—an extended discussion cum rant between Fassbinder and his oblivious lover. Among the other contributors are Alexander Kluge, Alf Brustellin, Bernhard Sinkel, and Volker Schlöndorff. Kluge, the main organizer behind the feature, later used his segment, “The Patriot,” as the basis for one of his features.
Dave Kehr

Here, and above, is an extract from the opening film.

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