Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Moi, un noir (Jean Rouch, 1958)

Sunday March 18th 2018, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Moi, un noir (1958). Directed by Jean Rouch. 73 minutes. In French with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, film starts at 20:30.

Today the name of ethnographer Jean Rouch is barely even whispered in cinema history, which just goes to show that history is always recorded by the winners. Today the winner is Hollywood… but perhaps tomorrow an influence like Jean Rouch could shatter the glass menagerie of American filmmaking. Who knows?

In this cinematic gem Jean Rouch traveled to Abidjan, on the Ivory Coast of Africa, with no predetermined concept. He wanted to make a film with the local people, to record their everyday lives and their dreams. So Rouch starts to hang out in Treichville – one of the poorest neighborhoods of Abidjan – and spends a week with immigrants from Niger who have come to the big city hoping to become successful. Now here is where the real importance of this film begins to shine… these down and out people are doing hard labor (for us here in Europe) and trying to scrape enough money together to buy a bowl of soup, but have re-named themselves after stars in western movies. One calls himself Tarzan, another Edward G. Robinson and another is Eddy Constantine. One even plays an FBI Agent. At night they hang out in bars and try to drink away their misery, and when they go to sleep we follow their dreams of an idealized world. The movie then submerges into poetic mode as we enter these dream-sequences.

The result is a cinematic fusion called “ethnofiction.” Director Jean Rouch had an explosive impact on cinema back in the 60s, and many in the French New Wave, like Jean-Luc Godard, would name him as one of their major influences. Jean Rouch took narrative cinema and fused it with anthropology and sociology: sometimes his films were documentaries tinted with fiction, and at other times they were fiction tinted with documentary.

The magic of this movie is how it nails down the way imperialism works today… less with guns and tanks, and more with the overtaking of dreams. It is clear the local dreams of these people in Africa have been hijacked by foreigners – so what we are talking about is a colonization of the subconscious. I daresay the same is true in Europe today, which has been robbed of its own dreams and replaced by those of the Yankees. Another rare screening of a neglected masterpiece.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: When I’m Dead and Gone (Živojin Pavlović, 1967)

Sunday February 4th 2018, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: When I’m Dead and Gone (Kad budem mrtav i beo, 1967). Directed by Živojin Pavlović. 79 minutes. In Serbo-Croatian with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, film starts at 20:30.

If most people are asked about movies from Yugoslavia, at best they usually can only name one filmmaker – Emir Kusturica. This is because the western media can only remember a few names from any foreign country, and therefore often only one person is recognized and reaps everything, while everyone else is left behind. Yugoslavia was a country that was rich with wild, crazy, creative and legendary cinema… and yet it’s been almost totally deleted from the history books, and never shown in cinemas. This only shows the prejudice of the northern countries, who are in control of the international cinema distribution system.

So let’s go back and take a look at one of the masterpieces from the 60s that helped pave the way for Yugoslavian ‘black wave’ cinema – When I’m Dead and Gone. The story of this flick is simple, and follows a petty thief who wants to be a singer in a rock band because it’s the easiest and most glamorous option available. This story is told with a lot of humor, and raw-poetry. The movie also had a subversive meaning… the main character is totally opportunistic and after any woman that comes across his path. Hidden in this parable is a biting criticism of the Yugoslav “60’s economic boom” … and it was because of this provocative commentary that it was banned by the authorities.

Following the tradition of a picaresque story, the movie is a terrific blend of comedy, drama and, finally, absurd tragedy. But what is beautiful about this gem is the way it documents the times. You wanna be transported to a different world in a meaningful way – then forget the latest apocalyptic cgi cine-junk playing at the commercial cinemas, and check out this movie instead… you will be surprised by its charm, wit and magic. Starring Dragan Nikolić and Ružica Sokić.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Pickup on South Street (Sam Fuller, 1953)

Sunday January 14th 2018, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Pickup on South Street (1953). Directed by Sam Fuller. 80 minutes. In English. Doors open at 20:00, film starts at 20:30.

A wonderful film noir, and one of the key films in the genre. Director Samuel Fuller gave cinema the punch and brilliance that it badly needed. Here we have wonderful hard-hitting acting performances, razor-sharp dialogue, existentialist situations and a labyrinthine plot that knocks you around as if you were a punching bag.

Joey, a lowlife pickpocket, and his ex-prostitute girlfriend Candy, become involved in what they believe is just a simple two-bit theft involving a secret file. But, as it turns out, the stakes are much bigger than they would ever have dreamed. In true noir form, the action is set in 50s New York – a brooding city of predators and power hungry jerks… of sell-outs and finks, of heartless betrayals and con-artists. But despite all of these icy hearts, Fuller manages to make us feel for his characters. All of this is fueled by the director’s trademark raw energy. Starring Richard Widmark in one of his best roles, and Thelma Ritter who gives a performance of a lifetime.

This will be a high-definition screening.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Missing (Costa-Gavras, 1982)

Sunday 12th November 2017, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Missing. Doors open at 20.30. Intro + film start at 21.00. Missing – 1982 – Directed by Costa-Gavras. 122 minutes. In English.

They sure don’t make movies like this anymore. This was made in the day when bucking the system was still possible, and if you had some big name actors in your project you could make hard hitting flicks. This one stars Sissy Spacek (Carrie, Badlands) along with Jack Lemmon (Some Like it Hot) in one of his most important roles. It’s directed by the Greek filmmaker Costa-Gavras, and is based on the true story that happened in the 1970s. It follows the journey of a young American journalist who travels to Chile to cover a news story. While he is there, everything goes totally haywire, the country is thrown into turmoil, the government is overthrown and marshal law is declared. While the young boy is reporting the events, he suddenly goes missing. The movie mostly focuses on his wife and father who travel to Chile to try and find him back.

This is a thriller about having firm beliefs about the world, only to have them utterly shattered. Most of the film we spend with the father, a businessman who not only has to deal with a missing son, but also having his world view collapse as dark secrets are revealed. It’s devastating to follow him through a dark journey of dead ends – a maze of hospitals, morgues and police stations. The film is moody and suspenseful, and remains one of the director’s riveting masterpieces. The dreamy synthesizer music track was composed by Vangelis, and it’s considered to be one of his best. This is a movie that gives us some deep insights into history, and reflects a time when edgy movies could still be produced in Hollywood. The film has lost none of its power since it was made, and maybe has become even more relevant than before.

A highly-charged drama based on real events. Winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes film festival.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Film begins at 9pm, free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: I was Nineteen (Konrad Wolf, 1968)

Sunday 1st October 2017, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: I was Nineteen (Ich war neunzehn). Directed by Konrad Wolf. 1968, 115 minutes. In German with English subtitles. Doors open at 8.30, film starts 9pm. Free admission.

Here we dive into East German cinema, which in the 50s and 60s was often actually better than the movies peddled in West Germany! This one is a coming-of-age movie about a teenager in the chaotic insanity of the second world war. The narrative was put together from director Konrad Wolf’s own diaries and personal memories. This moody gem is a searing and intimate life story of a boy whose family left Germany for Russia when he was eight, and later finds himself confronted with the ironic situation of fighting his own people (the Germans) in World War II. We follow him as a young Russian soldier in a squadron that is making its way to Berlin in the final days of the war.

This is a masterpiece of East German cinema, which is not as much concerned with following the logic of war as it is with the weird situations that our main character encounters. There are moments that are chaotic, unpredictable, often senseless, bordering on the surreal, and you find dragged through one amazing, bizarre situation after another. It is a rough journey, sometimes even terrifying, but compared to its Hollywood/Spielberg counterparts this movie is devastatingly poetic and meditative. My god, what has happened to aspects like poetry and mood in movies? In any case, this film has them both still intact. Plus, it of course it offers us a very different view of history than what is depicted here in the West. The b&w cinematography is riveting and helps to create the meditative atmosphere of this beautifully crafted East German DEFA film.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Doors open at 8pm, film begins at 9pm, free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951)

Sunday 10 September 2017, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: ACE IN THE HOLE, 1951. Directed by Billy Wilder. Black and White. 111 minutes. In English. Doors open at 8.30, film starts 9pm. Free admission.

This hard-hitting masterpiece is about the American way of turning any tragedy into a sensationalized media circus… complete with rides, cheese burgers and merchandise. It is about hyped-up media frenzies where only bad news, not good news, makes money. Just look at the news today: 95% tragedy, fear and threatening situations. This film is about the media’s ability to manipulate and control the public opinion.

Billy Wilder was a European director who is best known for creating some of the very best movies in the history of Hollywood, like the classic Some Like it Hot and The Apartment. This is an early effort by Wilder, and you can see his willingness to go against the grain, to tackle controversial themes, and to hold a mirror up to the American public and show what is really going on.

Despite the fact it was openly attacked by critics and the public, Ace In The Hole is right up there with Wilder’s best noirs (Sunset Boulevard and Double Indemnity). Our main protagonist, the opportunistic reporter Chuck Tatum (Kirk Douglas, who just turned one hundred years old!), gets a lead about a treasure hunter who is stuck in a cave. Tatum races there to exploit this event to the fullest… turning the poor man, who’s slowly running out of air, into an headline-grabbing attraction. He turns the situation into a sort of Disneyland of fake compassion, sentimentality and dull entertainment devoid of any moral concern. Understandably, American audiences were not amused by this cynical tone which revealed the nation’s obsession for sensationalistic tabloid-like news. Dark, cynical and straight… Wilder brings the story to the screen without pulling any punches, a visionary film that would leave it’s impact on later directors like Spike Lee and Oliver Stone.

This will be a high-definition screening.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Doors open at 8pm, film begins at 9pm, free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: From the Journals of Jean Seberg (Mark Rappaport, 1995)

Sunday 11 June 2017, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: From the Journals of Jean Seberg. Doors open at 8.30pm, Programme starts at 9. FROM THE JOURNALS OF JEAN SEBERG, 1995 Directed by Mark Rappaport, 100 minutes, In English.

On Friday September 14, 1979 a group of mourners assembled in Paris’s Montparnasse Cemetery, including Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir, decorating a casket with lilies, daises and yellow roses. This was the burial site of an extraordinary woman who was attractive, intelligent, famous and independent. A person who thought she was free, until she crossed the line and was put on the FBI hit-list. She was singled out, isolated, the victim of a smear campaign that destroyed her. The term for this is “character assassination” but it often leads to literal assassination.
Actress Jean Seberg, the American star of Jean-Luc Godard’s French New Wave hit Breathless, was a woman who was trying to do the right thing. She was married to the famous French author and diplomat Romain Gary, and both of them supported liberation causes in the 60s. In particular, Jean Seberg sided with the Black Panthers. This lead to a full attack against her by the FBI, who were out to destroy her at any cost. In the book Seances, I included a released FBI memo detailing their targeting of Jean Seberg as a subversive, and their intentions to ruin and “neutralize” her… including publishing fake news stories about her in the international press, such as Newsweek. This is no conspiracy theory, it is out in the open and a matter of fact.

‘Journals’ is a creative documentary that charts the life of Jean Seberg – from bright eyed actress who fought to be independent, to a woman doomed by a world of men. When Seberg was put on the government’s hit-list, she entered a dark world of undercover harassment, including burglaries, smear campaigns, wiretapping and stalking. Nico, the singer of the Velvet Underground, who was a friend of Seberg said “Jean was very beautiful and very intelligent, but she had a sad life … She pointed out the FBI men who were constantly following her around. Have you ever seen FBI men? They were exactly what you expect. Vulgar. Can you imagine such a thing? What tragedy…”

Narrated by Mary Beth Hurt (the star of Woody Allen’s Interiors), this is a piercing journey into the dreams of Jean Seberg, but also into the world of ruthless politics. A world where people who follow their heart are destroyed by men with dark agendas that wield their power. It’s that simple, and that tragic.

This will be a rare screening of this explosive documentary.

the trailer: […Lees verder]

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: El Pico (Eloy de la Iglesia, 1983)

170514_el_pico_smSunday May 14th 2017, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema. El Pico (1983) by Eloy de la Iglesia. 105 minutes. In Spanish and Basque, with custom-made English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begin at 9pm. Free admission.

This is the key movie of a much discussed genre called /cine quinqui/, which dealt mostly with heroin-use and small-time criminality.  While Europe seemingly only produced a handful of heroin dramas like Christiane F., in Spain the genre caught on like wildfire. Most of the films were low budget, rough and gritty in a wonderful Blaxploitation kind of way.

El pico is the culmination of the quinqui movement, but it is also much more than that. No longer a low-budget affair, this movie is a full-fledged political thriller set in the Basque country. At the time, Eloy de la Iglesia’s denunciation of the Guardia Civil’s involvement in the heroin trade sounded like a crazy conspiracy theory. It would take another fifteen years for the Supreme Court to endorse the accusations made in this movie (Caso UCIFA, 1997). Much like the CIA’s involvement in the Cointelpro heroin deals to hush down, frame or kill the ‘black power’ communities, the Guardia Civil worked hand in hand with drugdealers to stifle a rebellious unemployed Basque youth, who were still joining the ranks of ETA and nationalist parties.

If this wasn’t enough, El pico is also a film about homosexual emancipation. Quique San Francisco plays a brave, politically engaged, deeply humane gay character, and in the role of the beautiful young junkie we find Eloy de la Iglesia’s long-time lover Jose Luis Manzano, one of the many heroin celebrities of the time. As a teenager, Manzano had tried to mug the film director, but ended up starring in several of his films. Like many cine quinqui stars, the talented non-actor spent his life going from rehab to filmshoot to court-hearing, and he died of a bad heroin dose just a decade after this movie was shot.

The movie was a massive box-office success, despite the horrendous reviews by film critics in Spain. it was soon followed up with El pico 2, which presented drug use in a slightly more realistic way.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Doors open at 8pm, film begins at 9pm, free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net

[…Lees verder]