History Lessons


Time Out says

History Lessons derives from sections of Brecht's incomplete novel The Business Affairs of Mr Julius Caesar. It comprises four interviews with contemporaries of Caesar's (every word on the soundtrack is Brecht's): a banker, a former soldier, a lawyer and a writer, all of whom place Caesar's exploits in direct political perspectives. Typically, though, the film-makers insist on doing more than merely re-examining historical fact. They inscribe the dissection of Rome's imperialist past within three detailed studies of Rome today, establishing links that work both ways. And they leave the city altogether for the scenes in which their actors quote Brecht's dialogue; these scenes make a radical (Brechtian) break with the 'rules' of narrative film grammar. Illusions of all kinds are, in fact, ruthlessly pared away, leaving a series of concrete facts and statements in the forms of sounds and images that the viewer is free to use to construct meanings. This is arguably political cinema at its most advanced and provocative.

By: TR


Release details

85 mins

Cast and crew

Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet
Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet
Gottfried Bold
Johann Unterpertinger
Henri Ludwigg
Carl Vaillant
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