November 2018, distribution news

"Klassenverhältnisse" (Class Relations, FRG/F 1983)

by Danièle Huillet and Jean-Marie Straub

Based on the Franz Kafkas incomplete first novel, "Der Verschollene (Amerika)", CLASS RELATIONS is told from the perspective of a young German who emigrates to the US to encounter a strange new world. Harun Farocki and Thom Andersen appear in the film as well as Alf Bold, a long time colleague of ours.

"The filmmaking techniques employed in Class Relations further draw it out of the realm of straight adaptation or political parable. Their use of long takes, static camera work, and non-professional actors gives the film an austere and subtle power similar to the work of Robert Bresson... Despite its quiet pacing, the film’s intensity lends it incredible momentum, engaging the viewer from start to finish." Jonathan Andrews,

"Straub and Huillet took pains to render the German mannerisms and dialect of Kafka’s novel faithfully, and shot their film almost entirely in the port city of Hamburg. But their depiction of injustice and exploitation transcends historical specificity; as Straub said in 1984, “Kafka, for us, is the only major poet of industrial civilization, I mean, a civilization where people depend on their work to survive.” Joshua Siegel,

Interview with Straub & Huillet by Manfred Blank

The digital restoration tok place in a cooperation between BELVA Film and "Archive außer sich". “Archive außer sich” is a project of Arsenal – Institute for Film and Video Art, part of a cooperation with Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and Pina Bausch Foundation, part of “The New Alphabet,” a HKW project, supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media due to a ruling of the German Bundestag.

BRD / Frankreich 1983. DCP. 127 Minuten. Sprache: Deutsch. Verfügbare Untertitel: Englisch, Französisch, Italienisch, Spanisch. Nach dem Romanfragment "Der Verschollene" von Franz Kafka. Regie: Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet. Kamera: William Lubtchansky, Caroline Champetier, Christophe Pollock. Ton: Louis Hochet, Georges Vaglio, Manfred Blank. Produktion: Janus Film und Fernsehen. Mit Christian Heinisch, Reinald Schnell, Mario Adorf, Harun Farocki, Manfred Blank, Barton Byg, Alf Bold u.a. Premiere: 21. Februar 1984, Internationales Filmfestspiele Berlin