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

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator (Dušan Makavejev, 1967)

Sunday 29 May 2022, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator (Dušan Makavejev, 1967), 68 minutes. In Serbo-Croatian with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, film starts at 20:30.

Once again we will be screening another early film by the amazing Dušan Makavejev. In outline, this is the story of the romance between a young telephonist and a middle-aged rat exterminator that goes haywire. Yet in Dušan Makavejev’s hands, this film isn’t just a strange story, but becomes an innovative, free-form exploration on the themes of love and freedom… laying the groundwork for a razor-sharp look at relationships in sixties Belgrade. Breaking away from traditional ideas of narrative storytelling, the film often shifts away, for example, to interviews with a sexologist and a criminologist giving their crazed opinions… or suddenly we find ourselves listening to a poem about exterminating rats. This film is based on a true story, and includes some of the most elegant dramatic filmmaking of the director’s career.

A free-wheeling movie that mixes romance and satire, documentary footage, melodrama and tragedy. And as always with Makavejev, what we are left with is a bizarre cocktail of Yugoslavian-styled surrealism. This is a true cinema of the imagination. It’s one of the crucial films from the Eastern block in the 60s, and it’s a very rare screening, so I hope to see you there!

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

The Fig House (Pitzi Kampouroglou, 2019)

Monday November 11th 2019, special screening: The Fig House (documentary from Pitzi Kampouroglou, 2019), 102 minutes, in English with English subtitles. Doors open at 19:00 with food. Film starts at 21:00. Fee entrance, donations welcome.

The independent collective Amanita Films presents their new documentary The Fig House. The filmmakers will be present for questions and a discussion before and after the film screening. The film tells in twelve chapters the misadventures of ten friends and a cat, living for seven months in a squat in Greece. Activists and refugees all together, they come across the everyday troubles of living on the edge of society, while trying to reach Germany through the refugee’s Balkan Route.

Amanita Films is a project born from the making of the documentary The Fig House, a self-produced work by the same protagonists of the film. Amanita Films does not respect the rules of the film industry, believing that they are just instruments to preserve the privileges of those who have all the interests to prevent the free circulation and creation of art-works. We therefore do not recognize the copy rights of commercial exploitation neither our own neither others’ art’s works. We believe in a cooperative form of film production and in the creation of an alternative distribution network to the official one.

The idea of getting in a car and taking the film a tour around Europe, was born precisely from this need to get out of invisibility, to build a network of contacts that could become the basis for the diffusion and self-financing of independent audio-visual works.
The Fig House had its premiere at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, registered with false names and fake documents, winning the young jury special prize. Despite this small success, however, no distributor has declared to be interested in distributing a work that cannot be commercially exploited since it does not comply with and is registered to any copyrights.
We are now only a month away from going to Athens to start filming our next documentary: Love in Time of Crisis. We decided to go there by car, a one-month road trip to close a circle with our previous work and at the same time to open a new one.
We will depart from Zurich to arrive to Greece via Germany, Holland and Italy and we will stop in every city where there will be an squat, a cultural center, an private association, willing to support our project by hosting a screening of our previous documentary: The Fig House.
The purpose of the tour is also to be able to finance part of the expenses for the filming of Love in Time of Crisis through the support of our same spectators. The screenings will always be open to everyone and free; at the exit there will be a donation box where, whoever wants to, can leave a concrete support.
We want to share the experience of The Fig House with the largest number of people. The donation is not at all a discriminating factor in this sense, but only a possibility for the spectator, after having seen the film, in case it is liked, of being able to help Amanita Films to continue to produce cinema in a free and independent way.

Topics: The small mishaps of everyday life in the squatted house are the reason to raise some questions about immigration and solidarity, in particular on some issues that are not discussed very often. The film questions the vicious circle “illegality – poverty – prison”, as well as the topic of the “invisible wounds” – the psychological traumas connected to the migrant status. The documentary is essentially a story of friendship and solidarity, instability and despair. An opportunity to ask ourselves what kind of Europe we are building and if there is space for a better common future.

A group of friends, activists and migrants, decide to organize an escape plan through the Balkans, in order to reach illegally Germany from Greece. To accomplish their plans, they decide to divide the tasks, and while some are dedicated to find a suitable means of transport for the group, others are looking for an abandoned ruin to turn it into their home. When things seem to be going well, they have to face small unforeseen events that inevitably delay the completion of the plan: the cat of the house breaks his leg, a friend is arrested and one of the boys decides not to leave anymore. These continuous blows of misfortune end up weakening the psychological resilience of Ilias, one of the boys, who begins not to withstand the psychological pressure anymore, what is complicating the situation and putting the plan at risk.

For more infos: amanitafilms [at] protonmail [dot] com

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: When I’m Dead and Gone (Živojin Pavlović, 1967)

Sunday February 4th 2018, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: When I’m Dead and Gone (Kad budem mrtav i beo, 1967). Directed by Živojin Pavlović. 79 minutes. In Serbo-Croatian with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, film starts at 20:30.

If most people are asked about movies from Yugoslavia, at best they usually can only name one filmmaker – Emir Kusturica. This is because the western media can only remember a few names from any foreign country, and therefore often only one person is recognized and reaps everything, while everyone else is left behind. Yugoslavia was a country that was rich with wild, crazy, creative and legendary cinema… and yet it’s been almost totally deleted from the history books, and never shown in cinemas. This only shows the prejudice of the northern countries, who are in control of the international cinema distribution system.

So let’s go back and take a look at one of the masterpieces from the 60s that helped pave the way for Yugoslavian ‘black wave’ cinema – When I’m Dead and Gone. The story of this flick is simple, and follows a petty thief who wants to be a singer in a rock band because it’s the easiest and most glamorous option available. This story is told with a lot of humor, and raw-poetry. The movie also had a subversive meaning… the main character is totally opportunistic and after any woman that comes across his path. Hidden in this parable is a biting criticism of the Yugoslav “60’s economic boom” … and it was because of this provocative commentary that it was banned by the authorities.

Following the tradition of a picaresque story, the movie is a terrific blend of comedy, drama and, finally, absurd tragedy. But what is beautiful about this gem is the way it documents the times. You wanna be transported to a different world in a meaningful way – then forget the latest apocalyptic cgi cine-junk playing at the commercial cinemas, and check out this movie instead… you will be surprised by its charm, wit and magic. Starring Dragan Nikolić and Ružica Sokić.

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

Movie night: Silent Sonata (Janez Burger, 2011)


Sunday December 22nd 2013, Movie night, Silent Sonata (Circus Fantasticus) directed by Janez Burger, 2011, Slovenia, 75 minutes, with English subtitles. Door opens at 20:00, film begins at 21:00

Janez Berger’s Silent Sonata is an elegantly shot slice of magical realism set during wartime in an unnamed Balkan country, that employs the circus as a metaphor for the human spirit. After Stevo’s wife is shot and killed, he prepares to defend his two young children against further marauders. But the incoming invaders turn out to be nothing less than the amazing Circus Fantasticus, which sets up camp nearby and lives up to its name when the performers turn out to have supernatural powers. A film about courage and compassion in the face of harsh reality, Silent Sonata takes the calculated, but entirely successful, risk of telling its story entirely without words, using expressive gestures, glances, and music. […Lees verder]