Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Billy Jack (1971)


Sunday September 29th 2013, Movie night, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema by Jeffrey Babcock. Billy Jack (Directed by Tom Laughlin, 1971, 114 minutes, In English). Door opens at 20:00, film begins at 21:00

People are still discussing whats going in the middle east, but of course the whole issue if whether violence can can be used to create peace has been heatedly debated for the last few thousand years in Western culture. Nowhere in cinema is this question as relevantly and poignantly addressed as in this 70s utra-cult classic.

What a film. This is the film that kicked off the whole Billy Jack phenomena in the states in the early 70s. What the hell was that, you ask? It was something that was totally unprecedented. The director and main actor Tom Laughlin made an independent film that was able to become a smash box office success, only by word of mouth…no big advertising campaigns for this small budget feature. It was a tiny, but well aimed spark that caused a tremendous cultural forest fire in American cinema…and the film was made totally outside of the Hollywood system.

This emotionally gut-wrenching film moved people simply through its total commitment and sincerity, and it spurred on three sequels. And since its now 40 years later, let’s finally take a nostalgic look at this counter-culture phenomenon, what some people think is the most important american film ever made!

Whats it about? Tom Laughlin plays Billy Jack, an ex-Green Beret and half-breed Indian who returns home from Vietnam to defend the students at an alternative school on an Indian reservation. Laughlin’s wife Delores plays Jean, the schools’ extremely idealistic leader who is committed to non-violence even when her students beaten up by bigoted cops and the racist townspeople. Billy Jack tries to hold himself back, but in the end resorts to his combat skills from the war to protect the innocent. This film is really a product of its time, and has to be seen as such. And we will have a pristine HD projection!

Eventually it became one of the highest grossing films, and remains among the top 100 of all time (if its adjusted to inflation).

Is it totally innocent and a bit naive in the spirit of the 60’s? Yes.
Cheesy in a way that Tarantino loves? Yes.
Totally biased against the whole american political system right from the start? Of course!
Is it full of love and war? Does it have a brilliant sentimental soundtrack? Yes, Yes! Does it reveal the true situation of the american Indians like no other american film ever has? Definitely.

“Being an Indian isn’t a matter of blood, its a way of life.” – Billy Jack

Film night at Joe’s Garage, warm and 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