Filmmaker Jean-Marie Straub is dead

Jean-Marie Straub, craftsman since the 1960s of a committed and non-conformist cinema, died at the age of 89 at his home in Rolle, Switzerland, the Cinémathèque suisse told AFP on Sunday. “I spoke with Mrs Straub (his last wife) this afternoon, he died at six o’clock this morning, at his home in Rolle“, explained to AFP Christophe Bolli, in charge of the communication of the Swiss Cinematheque, confirming information given by the French newspaper Le Monde.

We were very, very close to him. He donated his films to us. He lived in Rolle. He was also a neighbor of Jean-Luc Godard, who was also very close to the Cinémathèque», Developed Christophe Bolli. “The Cinémathèque suisse had done a lot of tributes to Straub, a lot of screenings with him, and then he came a lot more between 2018 and 2019“, again confided the communication officer. “Then his health deteriorated. We haven’t seen him in our house for two years.“, he concluded.

Challenging traditional narrative and aesthetic patterns

To talk about his career, we must talk about the couple of directors Jean-Marie Straub/Danièle Huillet, his previous partner, met in 1954. The two creators challenged traditional narrative and aesthetic patterns. Danièle Huillet died of cancer at the age of 70 in October 2006. In 2017, Jean-Marie Straub received the Leopard of Honor from the Swiss festival in Locarno for all of his work.

Born on January 8, 1933 in Metz (France), Jean-Marie Straub began by being an assistant to great filmmakers such as Jean Renoir, Abel Gance, Jacques Rivette or Robert Bresson. It is then close to the band formed by Jacques Rivette, François Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard, future standard bearers of the New Wave. He fled France during the Algerian war to find refuge in Germany, where the Straubs/Huillet went on to direct with a short film, “Machorka-Muff(1962). The foundations of the uncompromising style of the duo of filmmakers were laid in 1967 with the feature film “Chronicle of Anna Magdalena Bach“.

Thank you Jean-Marie for your generosity and your sharp view of the world, which is very topical. We will watch over your legacy and make it shine“Wrote Frédéric Maire, director of the Cinémathèque suisse, on the website of his institution.

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