Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Panel Story (1980)

Sunday April 13th 2014, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema by Jeffrey Babcock: Panel Story (Panelstory aneb Jak se rodí sídliste). Directed by Věra Chytilová, 1980, 96 minutes, in Czech with English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begins at 9pm.

The bold films of Czechoslovakian director Věra Chytilová (Dasies) are still totally deleted from film history at this moment. Women are generally marginalized, if not downright ignored, from the official film history books. Like the female directors Lina Wertmüller, Liliana Cavani and Agnes Varda, Chytilová’s career shows an incredible wealth- her films are visionary and uncompromising. This one is a black comedy that was banned for many years.

Věra Chytilová was the Harmony Korine of the former East block, a rebel who reflected the surreal changes that Czechoslovakia was going through in the 60s and 70s. Panel Story is an incredible encapsulation of the attempted modernism that was taking place in the suburbs of Prague in the 70s… a creation which was a destruction. The housing estates of efficient prefabricated high-rises were both a striving for paradise, and an expulsion from paradise at the same time. The flats themselves were conceived of as bright and modern and ready to be equipped with all the latest domestic appliances, but the result was a domestic hell which promoted standardization.

This film probably only rivals Jean-Luc Godard’s “2 or 3 Things I know about Her” in its abrasive criticism of our Brave New World. This is real psycho-filmmaking, with deliberately chaotic editing, an atonal music score and sudden frantic camera movements which feel like the cameraman was a rat being flushed down a toilet. Chytilová’s use of space is compressed and claustrophobic, and the structure of the film is a rapid-fire flipping through the tenant’s households, almost as if we are flipping through channels on a television with a remote control.

Great cinema, created by a brave soul… one of Czechoslovakia’s greatest… who died last month (March 12, 2014). This is a very rare screening of this unknown gem, and the evening will be a tribute to her visionary work.

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