Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Rome, Open City (Roberto Rossellini, 1945)

170205_roma_citta_aperta_smSunday February 5th 2017, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema. Door opens at 8pm, film begin at 9pm. Free admission.

ROME, OPEN CITY. 1945
(Roma Città Aperta)
Directed by Roberto Rossellini
103 minutes
In Italian with English subtitles

Over the next months we will slowly take a look back at the brilliant early films of Roberto Rossellini, made when Europe was utterly ruined during WWII. When you watch these movies, you are watching two films at the same time… an incredible drama, and also a documentation of history shot in the middle of real-life.

The filming of Rossellini’s first neo-realist film, ROME, OPEN CITY was began when Italy was still occupied by the Germans. Made with almost no money, and shot in the streets of Rome guerrilla-style, this film depicts what the inhabitants of Italy were going though with a searing authenticity. Utter poverty, betrayal, humiliations, extraordinary renditions (I mean “kidnappings”) and enhanced interrogations (I mean “torture”) by the Gestapo. In this movie we get a heart-rending depiction of Europe torn to shreds by war.

The story of this movie (co-written with Federico Fellini) follows one of the leaders of the Resistance who is being hunted down by the Nazis. Shot on scavenged film stock with mostly non-professional actors, natural lighting, location shooting and little money… this is the kind of cinema that is only possible through sheer vision and passion. It was her performance in this film which would shoot actress Anna Magnani to international fame. Shot illegally when Italy was under fascism, this movie has gone on to become one of the classics of cinema.

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: Harlan County U.S.A. (Barbara Kopple, 1976)

harlancountyusaSunday January 22nd 2017, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema. Door opens at 8pm, film begin at 9pm. Free admission.

HARLAN COUNTY .U.S.A.   1976
Directed by Barbara Kopple

103 minutes
In English with English subtitles

Here is a documentary that is generally considered to be the one of the very best ever made. It is riveting as hell, and was made in the old-school approach of cinéma vérité… in other words without any cheap pseudo-Hollywood effects or re-enactments, only raw material that was shot at the scene.

Director Barbara Kopple throws herself and her crew into the battle that was taking place in the small mining community of Harlan County, Kentucky located deep in the black mountains of Appalachia. This place had a history, it was also the site of the legendary “Harlan County War” in 1931, when miners fought against the brutal working conditions dictated by the local coal company.

In 1973 things flared up again when miners began to strike against the Duke Power Company. When you look at the footage, you have to conclude not much had improved in the last half-century. The situation was appalling, and this lead to a needed confrontation. The company hired goons to come in and break the strike up, and in one electrically charged scene at dawn while the strikers and camera crew are heading to the picket line, they are shot at with machine guns. Luckily Barbara Kopple keeps here camera rolling as we watch her and her cameraman Hart Perry attacked and beaten.

What a tear-jerker this one is, and I don’t mean in the sense of cheap sentimentalism. I mean in the sense of seeing people fight for their rights. The kind of spirit and fire that is documented in this film is something that is so lacking these days, and is something we need so much more of. People allow themselves to be pushed around, and while their rights are being stolen from them they do nothing out of fear of something worse. And that is what this film is about… not giving into fear.

And don’t get the wrong idea. This is not just a film about men. It is also about the wives of the miners and women who have lost their husbands in the mines. How fucking strong these women are, it’s amazing. It’s the kind of film that will cut you to the core. It also won the academy award for best documentary feature.

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: Fuckoffguysgoodday (1992)

fuck_off_guysSunday November 13th 2016, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Fuckoffguysgoodday (1992).
(Dědictví aneb Kurvahošigutntág). Directed by Věra Chytilová, 120 minutes, In Czech with English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begin at 9pm. Free admission.

After the so-called velvet revolution, when Czechoslovakia made a transition from Communism to American-style capitalism, many of the rebellious filmmakers who had caused a stir under the old regime became softies and lost all of their critical edge. But two directors didn’t… Věra Chytilová (Daisies) and the animator Jan Švankmajer.

This was Věra Chytilová’s first film after the revolution and its a sharp critique of the blossoming of consumer capitalism. In this film the wild actor Bolek Polívka portrays a young Moravian villager who suddenly becomes a millionaire overnight from a mysterious inheritance. He’s brilliant in the role. In this black comedy we watch as he is transformed from a lazy countryside simpleton into an outright asshole because of his newly acquired wealth and power.

Fuckoffguysgoodday was received with a storm and has remained one of the most popular Czech comedies of all time. It was able to dig deep down and touch the poetic Czech soul, and many people still recite lines from it 20 years later. A fantastic dark comedy, with a biting message that is more important today than ever. It has basically never been shown in the west, so this is yet another extraordinarily rare 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: Toxic Love

Amore_TossicoSunday October 9th 2016, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: AMORE TOSSICO 1983 (Toxic Love). Directed by Claudio Caligari. 90 minutes. In Italian with English subtitles. Film starts @ 21:00. Free admission

This will be a rare screening of an Italian flick from the 80s that has a haunting reputation in its own country, but has rarely been screened anywhere else, except in festivals. Like I have recently noted, here in Europe in the 80s there was an explosion of movies that dealt with teenagers and drugs, and specifically heroin. Since the 80s these films have pretty much been buried and forgotten, because the topic is considered too dark. Amore Tossico is one of the best movies from this genre, and in Italy it’s considered a masterpiece.

Many of the drug-related films in the 80s were exploitation movies, made with low budgets and low ideals. But this one is different, with early Pier Paolo Pasolini films being a major influence. Like Pasolini, director Claudio Caligari filmed this movie in Ostia, a bleak seaside suburb of Rome. And like Pasolini this movie takes its cast off the city streets… so most of the “actors” in Amore Tossico are real-life junkies or former junkies, giving the movie a beautiful edge of authenticity. It’s not glamorous in any way, nor is it spectacular… instead its deeply human. Many of the actors would die by heroin or aids within a few years after this movie was made, so as we watch this film we are also watching a fleeting moment that would soon be extinguished.

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: I Know Where I’m Going!

I_Know_Where_I_m_GoingSunday September 25th 2016, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: I Know Where I’m Going! 1945. Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 92 minutes, in English with English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begin at 9pm. Free admission.

A beauty of a film, created by director Powell and scriptwriter Pressburger about a woman who is marrying a corporate kingpin (the head of ‘Consolidated Chemical Industries’), and travels from Manchester to the remote western isles of Scotland for her marriage. But when fog and bad weather rolls in, she is forced to wait on the Isle of Mull, forcing her to see life in a different way. This movie is gorgeous on so many levels. The characterization of a strong leading woman who is flouting all conventions, who is determined and strong. The captivating Scottish countryside is filmed with all of its powerful luminosity. The odd-ball characters who pop up, with unconventional beliefs, and live their lives accordingly. The chance to hear some Gaelic which is also rare and wonderful…

This haunting movie is not very well known, which makes this screening even more precious. It stars Wendy Hiller, and even features the future British singer Petula Clark as an eccentric 12 year old child. But this is a movie where the power of nature, and a fiercely poetic landscape, becomes as important as any of the actors in the film. The creators behind this flick, Powell and Pressburger, were geniuses. Do you think that the Cohen brothers are gifted? Perhaps. But they aren’t magical, and that is the quality this team was able to conjured up. This is one of Michael Powell’s smaller, less known gems. It’s a dramatic comedy, but a sublime one.

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: The Dreamlife of Angels

The_Dreamlife_of_AngelsSunday August 21st 2016, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema

THE DREAMLIFE OF ANGELS 1998
(La vie rêvée des anges)
Directed by Erick Zonca
113 minutes
In French with English subtitles

A hard-edged but poetically enthralling drama about two young working-class girls who are living in the drab city of Lille, working (and being fired) from shitty jobs, trying to scrape together enough money to survive from day to day. Indeed this is a film which grapples with our everyday existence, but not without a touch of magic. The Dreamlife of Angels captures the first meeting of Isa and Marie, and follows their relationship as it unfolds over the course of time. Crucial to the narrative are the two very different dreams that each of the girls have, and how those dreams are realized.

This gem of a film boasts flaring, haunting performances by the two female leads, Élodie Bouchez and Natacha Régnier, and they rightfully shared the Best Actress award at Cannes for this movie. Their riveting deliveries carry the entire narrative, captured in a lyrical documentary style, and its a marvel to watch it all unfold. It won the César award for best film, but since the 90s it’s been criminally neglected and largely forgotten…. so don’t miss this special 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: Charles, Dead or Alive

Charles_Dead_or_AliveSunday June 19th 2016, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Charles, Dead or Alive (Charles mort ou vif). Directed by Alain Tanner, 1970, 93 minutes. In French with English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begins at 9pm. Free admission.

The debut feature film by the great Swiss director Alain Tanner (Jonas will be 25 in the Year 2000, In the White City). Unseen for decades, this is an incredibly rare screening of this film about a businessman who becomes disillusioned with his lifestyle and throws his destiny to the wind to see where he ends up. In this film, Tanner already sets up the major theme that runs through all his films… describing the inner road and turmoil that anyone has to go through when they decide to break with society and follow their convictions uncompromisingly to the bitter end.

Although shot in Switzerland, the backdrop of the film is the volatile uprisings and demonstrations that were happening in France in 1968. This one is a forgotten gem that few people have had the chance to see in a cinema. Shot in a grainy and austere black and white, it’s a snapshot of the dynamic sociopolitical landscape of late 1960s Europe as the old world is hijacked and overtaken by modernization and American economic globalization. An extremely rare glimpse into the counter-culture movements of the 60s.

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: The Murderers Are Among Us

The_Murderers_Are_Among_UsSunday May 15th 2016, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema:
THE MURDERERS ARE AMONG US 1946
(Die mörder sind unter uns)
Directed by Wolfgang Staudte
81 minutes
In German with English subtitles
Door opens at 8pm, film begins at 9pm. Free admission.

With a style that is a fusion of deep expressionism mixed with harsh documentary, this rare movie captures the mood of a demoralized Berlin directly after the Second World War. We enter a city of devastation, of decimated streets and broken lives. But imagine the feelings of the main character Susanne when she returns to her home city after having been released from a concentration camp. When she returns to her wrecked apartment, she finds a stranger living there. Both of them are lost souls. They strike up a friendship… but as she goes through the streets she realizes she is in a city of people that betrayed her. Who is who? Who are the innocent survivors, and who are the villains?

This unusual movie was made directly after the end of the war, and therefore captures the ideas and sensibilities of that bitter time better than any film made today which looks back with contemporary prejudices. All of the film’s photography was done in the real streets of Berlin, and the main characters roam the desolate streets of rubble. And this thriller is also interesting to compare to the upcoming film noir movement… all of the elements are there – the sharp shadows, human silhouettes against cracked walls, unusual angles, spiral staircases, haunted tormented individuals wandering through a jagged broken landscape. There is a mood of dark melancholy hanging in the air of this sombre movie as Suzanne tries to find a way to forgive her city for the atrocities she has endured. […Lees verder]