Movie night: Cravan Vs. Cravan (2002)

Sunday May 25th 2014, “Cravan Vs. Cravan”, a documentary by Isaki Lacuesta, 2002, 100 minutes, with English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begins at 9pm.

Chic, chemical, whore, drunk, musician, worker, painter, acrobat, actor … Coward, hero, black, monkey, Don Juan, ruffian, Lord, farmer, hunter, industrial, fauna and flora. I am all things, all men and all animals           Arthur Cravan

In 2002 Isaki Lacuesta presents his “film-essay” about Arthur Cravan, a poet-boxer who dedicated his life to make fun of the world, until he disappeared in 1918 in the Gulf of Mexico while he was travelling to Argentina, where he was supposed to meet his partner, Mina Loy.

The documentary begins in Lausanne, Switzerland, in an exhibition about Cravan, in which nosey bodies and experts discussed his life toasting with champagne in a bourgeois environment that surely himself would have despised. Later on, the also boxer Frank Nicotra, appears driving a car on a road that takes you to the ruins of what used to be the old home of Arthur Cravan. Nicotra, as a sort of researcher, will follow the traces of Fabian Avenarius Lloyd, his real name , from Switzerland to Mexico via Paris, London and Barcelona.

As far as it is known, I will never be civilised. Arthur Cravan

On May 22, 1887, Arthur Cravan was born in Lausanne within a upper middle class English family. The passion towards his uncle, Oscar Wilde, pushes him to go to Paris in 1909 with the intention of becoming a writer, goal that gives up quickly, surrendering himself to the bohemian life of the Parisian clubs and making the scandal his way of life.

He created his own magazine, that was named “Maintenant”. Printed on wrapping paper, was used as a support to criticize unscrupulous painters who exhibited at that time at the Salon des Independants in Paris.

Why do I criticize the paint if I dismiss it? Very easy,to annoy my colleagues. My pen helps me to explain why there will not be more than two intelligent people visiting the salon

In this sense, Cravan anticipated the transgressive attitude of the Dadaists. His contempt for almost everything and his attitude towards life were models for the Situationist. Also his tattoos, and all his insulting slogans that he had written on his skin, together with his odd outfit have been related by many, to the origins of the punk´s aesthetic that would come later.

After the outbreak of World War and being reclaimed by his country, he flees to end up in the Plaza Monumental in Barcelona, where introducing himself as the champion of Europe, and after a night of drinking in the bars of the nearby Las Ramblas, he was knocked out, with its 105 kilos, by the world light heavyweight champion Jack Johnson, in the sixth round of a too short battle.

In December 1916, Cravan shared ship with Picabia and Trotski, among others, on his way to New York. He would not abandon his provocative and despicable attitude in many cases. There, he will meet Mina Lloyd, whom he falls in love with and with who he moves to the set in Veracruz, Mexico.

In 1918 Cravan disappeared off the coast of the Gulf of Mexico while he was heading to Argentina to meet with Mina, who was waiting there pregnant with her daughter. What happened on that trip? Did Cravan decide to die? To disappear? In any case, it was the final blow that hit his life and today, we still don´t know what happened in that ring.

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