Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Nola Darling (Spike Lee, 1986)

Sunday 15 October 2023, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: NOLA DARLING 1986 * Spike Lee * 82 minutes * In English * Doors open at 20:00, intro & film start at 20:30.

Maybe the best feature film by Spike Lee is the one he made at the very beginning, the one that has been kind of dumped, left behind and forgotten about. The one before he started getting more money, and before he started doing the Hollywood shtick (שטיק). In a sense, it is an ode to the spirit of women, and the right for a woman to own her own body and decide her own fate.

The main character of this movie is Nola Darling, who has an ongoing relationship with three different men. It must’ve been almost impossible to find an unknown actress that would be able to handle a role like this, and Tracy Camilla Johns absolutely sparkles in an incredibly naturalistic way. This being a Spike Lee joint means that it is also about urban black culture, but that is actually in the background in relation to the film’s real focus – Nola Darling’s struggle for autonomy. It’s a surprisingly playful film, not only in its content, but also in its style and structure. Like I said, this was made before Spike went straight. Having said that, there is one sensitive scene that was rushed through insensitively, and Lee says in hindsight he regrets it. Once again, the great thing about these community cinemas is that it gives us the opportunity to discuss these issues after the screening.

It was shot in shimmering black-and-white, and there is a kind of lush sensuality in its camerawork, giving respect to the human body in ways that we don’t see in cinema much these days. It keeps its rough edges and is leagues away from a glossy CGI’d, photoshopped look, offering us a great alternative to the Barbie sham that is being hyped at the moment. This first film by Spike Lee was considered to be groundbreaking when it came out and a triumph of independent cinema, but for years now it’s been almost impossible to see. It’s snappy, clever, charming, and creative, but it’s Tracy Camilla Johns’ disarming performance as Nola that ignites the entire project and sets it ablaze.

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

Cinema Italia: Bianca (Nanni Moretti, 1984)

Sunday 24 september 2023, Cinema Italia: BIANCA (1984) * Directed by Nanni Moretti * 96 min * In Italian with English subtitles * doors open at 20:00, film starts at 20:30. After the film, please engage in sharing comments, ideas, and inspiration with the host(s) of the evening!

Nanni Moretti, director and main actor in many of his movies, in Bianca explores the genre of crime. But it is a Moretti’s film, so it’s not a real crime film, but a film with his alter ego Michele Apicella — here at its debut — travels from romantic comedy to political, engaged film, in a surrealist humorous way, with a touch of grotesque here and there.

Most of the plot happens inside a school, where portraits of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis are juxtaposed to Dino Zoff, the Italian national hero of football, as well as Descartes, Pythagoras, and Kant.

If you have never seen a Nanni Moretti’s movie, Bianca is for you. If you have seen his classics like Caro Diario, you will understand with Bianca when everything started. If you watched Il sol dell’avvenire and you did not understand anything, come and watch Bianca as well.

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

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Air-doll (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2009)

Sunday 10 September 2023, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: AIR DOLL * (空気人形, Kūki Ningyō) * Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda * 2009 * 116 minutes * In Japanese with English subtitles * Doors open at 20:00, intro & film start at 20:30.

The premise of this flick is quite simple. A middle-aged man has a life-size sex doll he calls Nozomi at home that he makes love to every night. He doesn’t only have sex with Nozomi, he also dresses her up and has dinner with her. What can I say? People are lonely in this overcrowded modern world we live in, especially in big cities like Tokyo that are ironically packed with people. Seems like a contradiction, but is certainly true.

Then something unusual happens – one day the lifeless doll begins to come to life, as if she is suddenly filled with human feelings and a soul. Once this doll starts breathing and moving, she is as confused as anyone else about who she is. Since her owner is away at work, she goes out for a walk trying to understand the world around her, and the story unfolds from there.

As you approach the film, you must remember this is not an American film, which would take cheap shots with such a story and exploit it. Instead, this flick is weirdly humanist, with a sort of melancholic bent. It is Japanese director Kore-eda’s way of mapping out modern life, an attempt to help us see the world around us differently. Starring Korean actress Bae Doo-na as the titular air doll.

This will be a high-definition screening.

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

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Zahrada (Martin Sulik, 1995)

Sunday 20 august 2023, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: ZAHRADA * The Garden * 1995 * Directed by Martin Sulik * 99 minutes * In Slovak with English subtitles * Doors open at 20:30, intro & film start at 21:00.

Wow, here is a very special film which is hardly ever screened, despite the fact that it was a multiple award-winner when it came out. The kind of magical film that many people feel the urge to see it over and over again….. Zahrada is deeply loved in its home country, and its a wonderful example of magic realism in contemporary cinema.

The main character’s life in this film has reached a dead-end. He decides to leave his job, and then gets into a fight with his father. The trouble is compounded by his affair with a married woman. An affair that doesn’t make him happy. Breaking out, he escapes from his previous world to retreat to a small country house in the countryside which had been his grandfather’s garden. There he finds his life transforming through the powers of nature.

Some people have called this film a comedy, but its humor works on such a subtle level that it can’t be compared to the blunt comedies from Hollywood, for example. It’s ingenuous, transcendent and spellbinding. It gives you the feeling of entering a new dimension where the distinction between reality and fiction gradually vanishes. The pace of the film is unrushed and almost dreamlike, slowly unfolding in totally unexpected directions.

One viewer’s comment:

“The powerful images of the mystical garden are dream-like, but also very real. It takes you to a place where you feel it touches your innermost wishes of tranquillity and peace. A dream within a dream, a fantasy that becomes reality. Let this movie take you to a place you never imagined existed…..and enjoy the ride.”

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

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: The Favourites of the Moon (Otar Iosseliani, 1984)

Sunday 6 august 2023, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: FAVORITES OF THE MOON * 1984 * (Les favoris de la lune) * Directed by Otar Iosseliani * 101 minutes * In French with English subtitles * Doors open at 20:30, intro & film start at 21:00.

Director Otar Iosseliani made films in his homeland of Georgia, under Soviet rule back in the 60s. He eventually moved to France and continued to unleash his unique vision of cinema, carrying over his own Georgian humor and crafted surrealism into a French setting.

This movie is largely visual, and consists of a long string of seeming random situations that occur throughout Paris. In the course of the film we follow a patchwork of scenarios that range from the chic high-art world to tramps living on the street to the dark underworld of terrorists. The link between them all are two objects… an 18th-century chinaware set, and a 19th-century nude portrait. The director himself called this elliptical journey “an abstract comedy” and indeed it is a movie that speaks to the imagination rather than stereotyped storytelling. This is an example of free cinema, where anything can happen. It takes its title from Shakespeare’s description of thieves: “Diana’s foresters, gentlemen of the shade, favorites of the moon.”

Since it drifts in and out of so many lives and events, and because of its beautifully kaleidoscopic story line, this particular movie has often been compared to Luis Buñuel, Jacques Tati and Robert Altman. And because of its openness, it can be watched as either a wild trip, or as a commentary on the senselessness of our modern society that respects objects more than life itself. This film was winner of the Special Jury Prize at the 41st Venice International Film Festival. Starring Mathieu Amalric.

This will be a high-definition screening.

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

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Who’s Singin’ Over There? (Slobodan Sijan, 1980)

Sunday 16 july 2023, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: WHO’S SINGIN’ OVER THERE? * 1980 * (Ko to Tamo Peva) * Directed by Slobodan Sijan * 83 minutes * In Serbo-Croatian with English subtitles * Doors open at 20:30, intro & film start at 21:00.

This is as close to a perfect movie as you’re ever going to see. Ko to tamo peva has it all – historical significance, a great story that keeps you on the move from one event to the next, fabulous social commentary, a string of bittersweet comic moments, and to top it off, a fiery Balkan soundtrack. What more could you possibly want?

The story is simple…in an old, broken down bus en route to Belgrade, a diverse group of passengers have to put up with each other as the bus slowly makes its way through the rough country roads. Within the confines of this thin narrative, the director Slobodan Sijan paints a picture of a society torn by one war (World War I) and bracing itself for another, as the shadow of World War II looms over the countryside. Two of the passengers are Gypsy musicians who every once in a while will sing of their miserable life, and they also foresee the tragedy to come. Their songs are magical and work like a Greek reflecting upon the events as they are taking place.

Years later, another director, Emir Kusturica (Arizona Dream, Black Cat White cat) would make a big hit internationally with the wild characters and vivid story lines that he created in his films….but his sense of humor and style didn’t spark out of nowhere. He drew from a specific culture that was developing in the 70s and 80s in ex-Yugoslavia. Ko to tamo peva is the finest gem from that period. Tragically, it was never screened that much outside its home country, although it’s considered by many to be the best Yugoslavian movie ever made. And that might even be an understatement. In fact, the film is pure magic.

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

Cinema Italia: The Mafia Kills Only in Summer (Pierfrancesco Diliberto, 2013)

Sunday 9 july 2023, THE MAFIA KILLS ONLY IN SUMMER [LA MAFIA UCCIDE SOLO D’ESTATE] * Directed Pierfrancesco Diliberto (Pif) * 90 min * In Italian with English subtitles * doors open at 20:30, film starts at 21:00. After the film, please engage and share comments, ideas, and inspiration with the host(s) of the evening!

Mafia! You may have seen it in “The Godfather”, in “Goodfellas”, in “The Sopranos”, and you may think that you have seen it all, that you know what it looks like. But if you did, you would be wrong.

The real Mafia, in this case Sicilian “Cosa Nostra”, in this movie is told through the eyes of two children who turn young adults in the Palermo of the 1980s. Together they will experience the mafia phenomenon as it was lived in real lives in Sicily: an intricate relationship of things said and not said, of politics and common people, of journalists investigating, of absences at funerals, of the tireless work of judges and their ultimate sacrifice.

The key take away of this story on the Mafia war against the Italian State is not how strong crime is, but how noble the fight against it is, and how normal and extraordinary were the people who laid down their lives to defeat this cancer that has now spread, silently, all over Europe. In the end, you will want to learn and remember the names of the heroes of these real stories, from Rocco Chinnici to Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino.

A story that will make you laugh, will make you cry, will make you see a world of sweetness, of love, and of grief transpiring from the eyes of the child who tells it. Be careful, though: this movie will be shown in July – and Mafia only kills in Summer.

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

Movie night: The Uprising (Pravini Baboeram, 2019)

Sunday 2 july 2023, Movie night: The Uprising (Pravini Baboeram, 2019) * 94 minutes * Languages: English & Dutch * English subtitles * Doors open at 20:30, intro & film start at 21:00.

The Uprising is a documentary that connects colonialism to the common challenges that different communities of colour witness in contemporary society. The director analyses in nine written songs and with thirteen interviews how the heritage of colonialism is still rooted in nowadays society and how this heritage criminalises social/political struggles against racism. The struggles that are analysed in this documentary includes the struggle against blackface, the struggle for recognition of Dutch’s crimes in Indonesia, the fight for liberation of Palestine and the struggle for an inclusive society. The documentary ends with some suggestion for future resistance movements in order to create a new world of plurality and diversity. Trailer: https://vimeo.com/329425921

About the director:

Pravini Baboeram is an artist and activist from the Netherlands who use art to create social change. She holds a master degree in Media & Culture studies from UVA in Amsterdam. She has her own production label and was founder of several action against racism and cultural appropriation.

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