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]

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Poison

170423_poison_smSunday 23rd April 2017, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Poison (1991), directed by Todd Haynes. 86 minutes. In English. Doors open at 20.30. At 21.00, screening.

The feature debut movie of the now famous Todd Haynes (Safe, Carol, Velvet Goldmine). When Haynes made this project he was still an obscure filmmaker mostly known only in the gay community. But when an American Senator named Jessie Helms publicly attacked the film it made the headlines and the flick was suddenly catapulted into art house cinemas and even won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival.

Poison was inspired by the transgressive writings of the French author Jean Genet, who was both a criminal and a poet. The narrative structure is quite experimental, reflecting the wildness in Haynes’ later biopic about Bob Dylan I’m not There. So instead of having a single storyline, it has three narrative paths… ‘Hero,’ ‘Horror’ and ‘Homo’, and each is depicted in a different style – color, black & white, and documentary. For example, ‘Horror’ is modelled after an old-fashioned sci-fi melodrama from the 50s, and is about a scientist who is able to distill the human sex-drive into a single fluid. When things go out of control it unleashes a sexual plague across mankind, a clear reference to the aids epidemic.

The imagery is dynamic and bold, the music score is great, and the end result is absolutely unique. But this is a film for people who want to explore, rather than have a comfortable viewing. For example, it doesn’t make it easy for the audience to know how to react to many scenes. It can shift from moments of intense beauty to visceral queasiness… almost to a dizzying degree. It can be both enchanting and provocative. This is a small indie gem that is almost forgotten today, but which still packs a punch after all these years. […Lees verder]

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: The Woman from Rose Hill

170326_la_femme_de_rose_hill_smSunday March 26th 2017, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema. Door opens at 8pm, film begin at 9pm. Free admission.

THE WOMAN FROM ROSE HILL 1989
(La femme de Rose Hill)
Directed by Alain Tanner

95 minutes
In French with English subtitles

The films of Swiss director Alain Tanner (La salamandre, Jonas will be 25…) are some of the most poignant and sharpest of the last century. Sadly his movies have been marginalized and trashed by our commercial film distribution industry.

Julie is a young woman from Rose Hill (Republic of Mauritius, an Island off the off the southeast coast of Africa). She moves to a little village in Switzerland, responding to a proposal of marriage by her pen-pal Marcel. But when Julie arrives, everything is wrong right from the start. Director Alain Tanner is excellent in showing the culture shock of this young black woman, confronted by the horror of Switzerland… cold, clinical, ordered, regulated, Calvinist, snow-covered, brutally practical and ultimately abstract.
In his films director Alain Tanner always focuses on outsiders, and here we see Julie as utterly dispossessed. Finally she meets Jean, a neighbor, and they have an affair, which leads to damning judgments from the local community. This is a tender movie, totally unknown, by a master filmmaker, dealing with issues of immigration and the responsibilities of Europe’s colonialist past. This will be an outrageously rare screening of this brilliant and haunting gem, that was effectively banned by commercial distributors. […Lees verder]

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