Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: I cannibali (Liliana Cavani, 1970)

Sunday 14 August 2022, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: The Year of the Cannibals (Liliana Cavani, 1970), 87 minutes, in Italian with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:30, film starts at 21:00.

This is a wild offbeat plunge into European cinema of the 70s… a time when everything was up for grabs and bold experiments were being forged by visionary directors… in this case Liliana Cavani (The Night Porter). As I have mentioned before, female directors were emerging here in Europe in this period, a phenomena that would pretty much be dashed in the 80s. This bizarre document was made during the social protest years of 1967-69 and stars Britt Ekland along with the uncompromising Pierre Clémenti. It’s loosely based on the Greek tragedy Antigone by Sophocles, but this version has been updated into a surreal-symbolic Italian sci-fi of the 70s.

We enter a situation where the city streets are littered with the copses of hundreds of boys and girls, who were probably demonstrators beaten by the police. The bodies are left there as a warning against rebellion by the government, and no one is allowed to touch them. The story centers on a woman who wants to bury her dead brother, and together with her friend Tiresias, they conspire to break the law and bury the dead. The thunderous music score is by Ennio Morricone.

Ironically the cityscape strewn with lifeless bodies anticipated a bomb which exploded in a Milan bank a few months later. First blamed on leftists, it was later discovered it had been planted by neo-fascists. The bomb blast killed 18 and wounded 80. Director Liliana Cavani would later call her film a “tragic prophecy.”

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