Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Knoflíkáři (1997)


Sunday October 5th 2014, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema by Jeffrey Babcock: Knoflíkáři (Buttoners). Directed by Petr Zelenka, 1997, 106 minutes, in Czech with English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begins at 9pm.

The unbelievable burst of creativity that emerged from Czechoslovakian cinema of the 60s is mostly something of the past. Today the general film scene there is as dim as it is everywhere else. But of course there are exceptions, and director Petr Zelenka is one of them. Where many directors are going for a more slick Hollywood-derived approach to cinema, Zelenka is one of the black sheep, the enfant terrible of his generation. His movies are wild, deranged and surreal black comedies, but at the same time they ultimately culminate in some sort of philosophical observation. In general his films explore the broken dreams of the so-called Velvet Generation… the moral confusion and existential loneliness that was ushered in with western consumerism.

Knoflíkáři is a mosaic-movie composed of six stories that are linked together by small details. These segments explore the themes of predestination and coincidence, and are expertly interwoven by a fantastic and imaginative script. The film is full of sharp black humor… and it’s both unpredictable and insightful. It’s carefully unfolds with wonderful cinematography, editing and acting (including the legendary 60s actor Rudolf Hrusinsky). It’s the perfect example of what one viewer called the “dark humor, twisted logic, and tranquil fatalism characteristic of Czech film.”

It won the Czech Lion for Best film, best director and best screenplay in 1997, an was a beloved film at the Rotterdam Film Festival, picking up the Tiger Award.

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