Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Tout va bien (Jean-Luc Godard, 1972)

Sunday 24 october 2021, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Tout va bien (Everything’s All Right), directed by Jean-Luc Godard, 1972, 96 minutes. In French with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, Film starts at 20:30.

Directly after the ground-breaking historical events that occurred in May ’68 in France, director Jean-Luc Godard went into a crisis. He was famous internationally, but the revolution shook him so deeply that he realized that such fame was a fraud and actually undemocratic! So Godard went into collective filmmaking, and this film was the major result of this period. These collaborations are known as the Dziga-Vertov films.
Because he had two major stars signed for the project – Jane Fonda and Yves Montand – he was able to make a big-budget experimental film that follows the journey of a filmmaker and a reporter caught up in a worker’s take-over of a sausage factory. So there is an intimate love story, but this film also steps back and looks at the bigger picture. By approaching the situation in this way, Godard, together with Jean-Pierre Gorin, are able to analyze the movie industry, society in general, how news is reported by the mass media, along with structurally undemocratic hierarchies inherent in factories and most places of work.
Certainly a bewildering movie, there is nothing else quite like it. Mid-way through the film you see the look on actor Yves Montand’s face, something like “What the fuck is going on? How did I get mixed up in this!” It is a crazy film, with a lot of humor, but also despair. There is a thoughtful and melancholy mood that hangs over this innovative flick, as Godard stubbornly continues the battle when most others have already given up, ditched the ship, and gone for the cash in post-May ’68 France. This is the kind of film you need to watch if you want to explore, understand the world around you… and also to grasp the untapped possibilities of cinema.

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: Coming Home (Hal Ashby, 1978)

Sunday 19 September 2021, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Coming Home (Hal Ashby, 1978), 126 minutes, in English with English subtitles. High-definition screening. Free admission. Doors open at 20:00, Film starts at 20:30

Directed by one of American’s greatest filmmakers Hal Ashby, this was a groundbreaking film when it hit the cinemas… and it’s another of those films whose message is even more relevant today than when it was made. Some films fade over time, and others get richer.

Coming Home stars a young Jon Voight (Midnight Cowboy), Bruce Dern (Nebraska) and Jane Fonda. It should be remembered that Jane Fonda had made a lot of enemies around the time when this film was made. She had gone to Vietnam during the war in 1972 and made pictures with the so-called “enemies”. She said the American bombings of Vietnam constituted a war crime, and denounced American soldiers as war criminals. Many Americans of course couldn’t see her point… there was a smear campaign built against her in the States; they called her “Hanoi Jane” and clamored for her neck, saying she should be tried for treason. Many would have lynched her if they had the chance.

Coming Home is based on Jane’s friendship with Ron Kovic, whose autobiographical book Born on the Fourth of July would later be made into a film by Oliver Stone. This movie came out roughly at the same time as a few other films that dealt with the effects of the war at home in America…. of the damaged soldiers who were returning. But where the other films, like The Deer Hunter, relied on “flashbacks” of the war to show its violence and horror, this film was far more intelligent… not showing any violence at all, only the devastating emotional impact.

The soundtrack is made of the music of the times (Rolling Stones, Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, etc.), but it’s especially the music of Tim Buckley (the father of Jeff) which captures better than anything else director Hal Ashby’s mood and scorching sentiment. Winner of three Academy Awards (best actress, actor and script) back in the days when the Academy sometimes took risks.

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: El pico II (cine quinqui retrospective)

Sunday December 1st 2019, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: El pico II (1984) by Eloy de la Iglesia, 122 minutes. In Spanish with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, Film starts at 20:30

El pico II is a stunning sequel that can be watched on its own, even if you haven’t seen Eloy’s smash film El pico, made just one year earlier. This time the action is set in Madrid, in the infamous Carabanchel jail, which became cine quinqui’s ‘actor’s studio’ since so many of the performers in these movies were real life criminals. Although the follow-up is less gritty, it remains true to El pico’s mix between denunciation essay and action thriller. Because Eloy was, in a way, an unrefined version of the Greek director Costa Gavras, with the added intensity of a filmmaker who was not just a self-declared communist, but also openly gay and addicted to heroin.

And heroin is indeed at the heart of this story. Our junkie heroes, Manzano and Pirri, play two cell mates – a posh kid and a working class quinqui – who help each other navigate the prison’s informal power structures, including some pretty unsavoury gay and transgender characters. El pico II deals blow after blow to different aspects of the new Spain: private addiction clinics, the prison system, class privileges, ETA, the press, the Guardia Civil. It goes in-depth into the corruption of the courts and legal system. It exposes the abject sociology of the prison – how it pits prisoners against each other, how it uses hardcore prisoners to punish ‘soft’ ones.

All this with the added bonus of a glorious flamenco soundtrack and two of the best knife-fight scenes of the whole cine quinqui era.

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: OSS 117 Lost in Rio (Michel Hazanavicius, 2009)

Sunday October 20th 2019, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: OSS 117- LOST IN RIO (2009) (OSS 117: Rio Ne Répond Plus). Directed by Michel Hazanavicius. 101 minutes. In French with English subtitles. This will be a high-definition screening. Doors open at 20:00, Film starts at 20:30

In this spoof of secret agent films, the year is 1967, and Hubert Bonisseur de la Bath (also known as Secret Agent OSS 117, the pride of French intelligence), is sent on a mission to Rio de Janeiro to hunt down a former high-ranking Nazi who went into exile in South America after the second World War. His investigation takes him on a journey across Brazil, from Rio’s sunny beaches, through luxuriant Amazonian forests, down into the depths of secret grottoes and up to the top of the gigantic Christ statue that overlooks Rio (in a scene that is clearly a homage to Hitchcock). Along the way he is accompanied by a dazzlingly beautiful Mossad agent who is also looking for the same Nazi.

Set to the strains of a sultry bossa nova, the film perfectly captures the style and tone of 60’s spy films, with great vintage movie colors and split screen effects. The screenplay and direction is by the unique Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist) and the film stars Jean Dujardin (a wonderful Sean Connery look-a-like) who gives a razor-sharp performance. This will be a rare screening of this modern cult film, a black comedy about the so-called ‘Intelligence’ world.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] lists [dot] squat [dot] net

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Stardust (Michael Apted, 1974)

Sunday September 8th 2019, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Stardust (Michael Apted, 1974), 111 minutes. In English (no subtitles). Doors open at 20:00, Film starts at 20:30

British heartthrob David Essex (Rock On) stars in this epic tale about Jim Maclaine, a working-class lad who starts a band called The Stray Cats. This flick covers his rise to stardom and his hard fall into disillusionment… he is a sort of Ziggy Stardust character who climbs to the top and tumbles over the other side. The director Michael Apted would later knock out a Bond film (The World is not Enough), but back in the 70s scepticism of such spectacular movies was still extremely strong, so this is a radically different kind of flick. The cast alone merits it as being a crucial movie about the rock industry – we have Adam Faith (a huge rock star in England during the 60s) Welsh pub rocker Dave Edmunds and the eccentric drummer of The Who – Keith Moon. What this film does best is show how cold-blooded the music industry really is… how it’s just a machine to generate cash. It sells cheap sentiments and infectious rhythms… but it is all a design, a scheme, a facade. Lurking in the narrative are influences of other rock stars who went to ruin… like Marc Bolan, the Beatles, Syd Barrett, Scott Walker. Years afterwards this scenario would be reflected in the lives of Ian Curtis, Nick Drake, Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, etc.

Stardust was pretty huge when it came out, but since the 1970s it has bitten the dust and been forgotten. There is a reason for that dissapearance – in between the growing consciousness of the 1960s and 70s, and the present cynicism of today there were several decades that dismissed the critical argument of this film, flung aside everything that had been gained in the 60s, and went full-throttle into the American moneymaking dream. In my view, the entire western world lost three decades going down that wrong path. And of course, part of the American dream is the rock’n’roll dream, which is fortunately finally wearing pretty thin these days. The depiction of the music business as an industry run by heartless technicians, greedy managers and nasty record companies rings pretty true these days as revelations about Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein (and ‘Top of the Pops’ Jimmy Savile in the UK) come to the surface. These sleazy types are not the exceptions, they are the rule in high finance and entertainment. This flick stands alongside a few other movies made around the same time – Peter Watkin’s Privilege (1967) and Richard Loncraine’s Slade in Flame (1975) also show the dark side of the pleasure dome. The message of this movie isn’t cynically saying life is worthless, but rather it is a warning: we should choose for life over money. Also starring Larry Hagman.

Thematically at least, this is the most important screening anywhere in Holland this month…
“How much does God mean to you?”
“Somewhere between two and three million dollars, after tax.”
Another forgotten classic…

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] lists [dot] squat [dot] net

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Part-Time Work of a Domestic Slave (Alexander Kluge, 1973)

Sunday August 4th 2019, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Part-Time Work of a Domestic Slave (Gelegenheitsarbeit einer Sklavin). Directed by Alexander Kluge, 87 minutes, in German with English subtitles. Doors open at 20.30, Film starts at 21:00.

In a way this film has a story, but like all great movies it also has a wider meaning, it helps us reflect on the world around us. The story focuses on a woman called Roswitha who has a hell of a life. She has a jerk for a husband, a family and also on the side she runs an illegal abortion clinic. When the clinic is raided, her husband is arrested and she is left to fend for herself. But this process also gives her something… an understanding of how our society operates and how women are targeted. But also something else… she realizes that if she really wants to make a better life for her children, she can’t just focus on her family, but has to act outside it. Therefore it is a movie about the necessity of getting involved in the world around us, about breaking one’s numb passivity.

This glimpse into 1970s Germany shows us how little progress we have made since then, but also gives a bridge to possible alternatives.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] lists [dot] squat [dot] net

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Bone (Larry Cohen, 1972)

Sunday July 21st 2019, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Bone (Larry Cohen, 1972). 95 minutes. In English. Doors open at 20.30, Film starts at 21:00.

This film is one of my biggest recent cinematic surprises… really knocked me off my chair with amazement! Maverick director Larry Cohen (It’s Alive) would later make surreal horror films, but his debut was something totally different….and probably the finest film in his career. Bone is a film like no other, a quirky black comedy which takes on the subject of racism in a bizarre and unexpected way.

The plot focuses on a Beverley Hills couple- a used car salesman, and his wife Bernadette. The couple seem to have it all – but one small unpredictable incident happens which throws their lives into chaos, and exposes the poverty behind the facade of their lifestyle. What is that incident? One day a black man named Bone appears in their back yard. This starts a chain reaction of events which is nothing short of amazing. This razor-sharp film stands out from a lot of other 1970s stuff simply because its such a bizarre mix, and also because of the unpredictable way in which the plot plays out. Also, its cutting-edge sense of humor comes close to Tarantino, except this film also has deeper insights and something more relevant to say.

Bone is clearly an attack on racism, but above everything else its a film about how people lie to themselves in order to keep up a certain lifestyle. The film is radically un-PC, but at the same time it’s one of the most politically correct films I have ever seen. Of course the major studios wouldn’t even touch such a wild-card film, so it was thrown into the drive-in circuit and quickly deleted from film history. BONE is an obscure underground masterpiece, starring a brilliant Yaphet Kotto (Alien, Blue Collar)… and although Koto is usually great in everything he does, in this small independent film he gives the best performance of his life. Seen now, 40 years after it was made, this movie is not only relevant – its a startling revelation.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] lists [dot] squat [dot] net

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: The films of Pierre Merejkowsky

Sunday June 23rd 2019, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: An evening with Pierre Merejkowsky and Nina Zivancevic. Doors open at 20.00, Film starts 20.30.

Pierre Merejkowsky is a fimmaker with an anarchistic bent who resides in Paris. He cares nothing for finesse or the elegance of style. Once, in one of his reviews, the French film critic Serge Daney famously blasted a movie about a German concentration camp, because at one point there was an artful camera movement. How can one consider artfulness in dealing with the holocaust? Merejkowsky is a bit the same: what is the point of endlessly harping on aesthetics and style, when we are facing an era when the entire world is falling apart at the seams?

Merejkowsky investigates images with his cinema, yes, but much more than that. He interrogates our passivity. He throws himself, camera in hand, into volatile situations. He pleads, he battles with ghosts, he confronts everyone in the immediate environment. He insists; where does this sluggish lethargy that is so prevalent today come from? He is only interested in cinema as a catalyst for transformation. His films are provocative, and are meant to archaeologically dig beneath the surface of culture and everyday life.

Together with poet Nina Zivancevic, we will introduce and explore Pierre’s chaotic, vibrant, passionate cinema. In between films, discussion with the public will also be encouraged.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] lists [dot] squat [dot] net