Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Divided Heaven (Konrad Wolf, 1964), GDR series

Sunday 11 September 2022, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Divided Heaven / Der geteilte Himmel (GDR series), 1964 adaptation of Christa Wolf’s novel by Konrad Wolf, 109 minutes, in German with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, film starts at 20:30.

This film is part of the GDR / Why Women Had Better Sex under Socialism series

Based on the famous novel by Christa Wolf about two lovers who are torn apart as the Berlin Wall is about to be constructed, dividing the country in two. Rita has a lover, but over the course of their relationship it becomes clear they have different political points of view. The movie is great in laying out excellent arguments for both sides… the socialist East Bloc and the consumer-orientated West.

The film embraces the structure of the novel, which begins with a woman waking up in a hospital, and through flashbacks, recounts the recent events that got her there. This wild structure matches well with the film’s French New Wave feel. It is often quite experimental – using angular photography and scenes overlapping between the present moment and the past. The cinematography is crystalline, with an endless array of exquisitely composed black-and-white images. The soundtrack is also bold, with an experimental electronic music score giving the story a modern, ‘in transition’ sort of mood.

It makes sense that since each character is a different gender, they make different decisions. In the West men are in control and have more advantages… and Rita stays in the East where there was much more gender equality. But the real argument is much more than that, it is more about if a person should fight for a cause, or just live as easy as possible.

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: Die endlose Nacht (Will Tremper, 1963)

Sunday 20 March 2022, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Die endlose Nacht (Will Tremper, 1963), 83 minutes. In German with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, film starts at 20:30.

There is thick fog over Berlin-Tempelhof Airport, and an announcement is made that all flights to West Germany are canceled. Since the airport is in East Germany, many people are not allowed outside and so they are left stranded, hoping in the morning things will clear up.

This film follows six of the people who are caught up in the building, walking aimlessly through the near empty airport. The film is made up of their encounters, and their attempts to make something interesting happen. In some ways, it has a bit of the mood of the pandemic and all the lockdowns… suddenly thrown into a void, a bit lost, with plenty of time to kill, and not knowing how long it will take.

The people who are drifting around are from both sides of the Iron Curtain, and therefore meeting each other for the first time, both suspicious of the other side. To further this East-West connection, the theme song is a tune by the Andrzej Trzaskowskí Quintet, a wicked Polish jazz band featuring the vocals of Wanda Warska.

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: Gundermann (Andreas Dresen)

Sunday 6 February 2022, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Gundermann (Andreas Dresen), 118 minutes. In German with English subtitles. Doors open at 19:30, Film starts at 20:00.

This is a biopic about the DDR singer-songwriter Gerhard Gundermann (1955-1998). It is directed by Andreas Dresen, one of the very few East German filmmakers that was allowed to make movies after the fall of the Berlin wall. I love his films because he always sees things from a different angle than West German filmmakers. There is a kind of humanitarianism in Dresen’s films that is missing from West German because they try to be too sensational, too ‘cool’, too controversial or overly sentimental. For Dresen cinema is never a commercial trick or a gimmick.

Our main character Gerhard Gundermann had a job as a crane operator in an excavation site. It’s 1970s and during the day he digs for coal, but at night he was forming rock bands to play music. His songs were thoughtful, touching, rebellious, and hopeful. But after the Berlin wall fell, it turned out he had a contradictory past, and had a secret life working undercover. So what emerges in this flick is a complex portrait of a highly unusual character. Although we like to see the world in black-and-white terms, things are not always so easy… usually reality is in shades.

This film shifts back and forth in time – into the seventies, to the fall of the Berlin wall in the late 80s, and the reunification of the 90s… showing how Gundermann dealt with his double life in his later years.

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

Soli voku for legal costs in Berlin. United we stand with Køpi and Køpiplatz. Rebetika Night

Monday 25 october 2021, Soli voku for legal costs in Berlin. United we stand with Køpi and Køpiplatz. Rebetika Night. Volkseten Vegazulu. Food served from 7pm till 9pm, no reservation.

Soli voku for legal costs in Berlin with updates about the current situation in Berlin. We’re coming back on the eviction of the Køpi wagenplatz on 15 october and the events around such an eviction. https://koepi137.net/
Rebetika Night, music on the stage from 9pm with Charis Konstantinou (guitar and vocals) and Jaap Faber (guitar).

Volkseten Vegazulu is a people’s kitchens existing since the very beginning of Joe’s Garage, June 2005. Your donations are welcome. Starting from 19:00 until 21:00, vegan, no reservation. All benefits go to social & political struggles. Joe’s Garage is a space run by volunteers. Without a collective effort, without your active participation, we’re remaining closed. Get in touch if you feel like giving a hand. We’re always looking for cooks. Any help is welcome in the kitchen. Experience not required. If you want to know which days are still available, mail us.

Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Die Beunruhigung / Apprehension (Lothar Warneke, 1982)

Sunday May 19th 2019, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Die Beunruhigung / Apprehension (Lothar Warneke, 1982). 100 minutes. In German with English subtitles. Doors open at 20.00, Jeffrey’s intro and film start at 20.30

These days we have such a prejudiced view of the former East Bloc, as if it was totally a one-sided thing that never changed, and in our arrogance, we demonize it without the slightest idea what we are talking about. Believe it or not, in the former East Germany there was an effort to make a cinema that was free of propaganda – both the so-called ‘Soviet realism’ of Russia, but also the fake romantic propaganda of Hollywood. And in two areas the East German cinema thematically excelled – they were ‘anti-war’ and ‘pro-women.’ So in the GDR there was an entire genre exploring the real-life situation of women. By contrast, in the so-called “democratic” west women were mostly relegated to side roles in movies – often as secretaries or housewives or love interests. Today we have female super-hero films, but they are as ridiculous as the former roles, and are about as empowering as a shot of arsenic. Because of the recent ‘me too’ movement, there have been a few more films highlighting the female situation… but they don’t hold a candle to what was happening in East Germany 40 years ago.

What is this film about? It doesn’t have a huge overarching story, but rather focuses more on a specific situation. Our main character Inge is a mid-thirties social worker and a single mother, magnificently portrayed by actress Christine Schorn. She is told she has breast cancer, possibly malignant. The entire film is about her thoughts and emotions, her conversations and behavior. It is based on an autobiographical novel by the popular GDR writer Helga Schubert. The style is stripped-down, allowing real discussions to occur about real things. In a way, this film is like a cinematic detox session that cuts the audience off from all spectacle, cheap tricks and quick thrills. Personally, I found it exhilarating. It’s a biting flick, made even more heart-wrenching by its unsentimentality, and Its documentary-like edge also makes it valuable as a poignant document of East Berlin in 1981.

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: Latest from the DaDa-ER

Sunday August 5th 2018, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Latest from the DaDa-ER (Letztes aus der DaDaeR). Directed by Jörg Foth, 1990, 86 minutes. In German with English subtitles. Door opens at 20:30, film and presentation from 21:00.

After the Berlin wall fell the East-German film scene went haywire, since there was suddenly a small window of time that meant it was no longer under the authority of the previous GDR government, and as of yet were not forced to become commercial by the capitalist system. In this small period they knocked out some truly wild and exceptional off-beat cries of rebellion. This film is a marvelous example. It couldn’t have been made a year earlier when the GDR was still strong, and it wouldn’t have been made a year later when the DEFA studio was bought by a French conglomerate.

What we have here is a avant-garde picaresque story of two East-German clowns rummaging through the ruins of the GDR, and although the clowns seem relieved that everything is loosening up, at the same time everything is falling apart and they also show no interest in the glamor and spectacle of the ‘other’ half of Germany. This film was made at a very acute point in time. The main forces behind this freewheeling creation were two visionary performance artists – Steffen Mensching and Hans-Eckardt Wenzel. The are both the writers and the main actors in this surreal flick about two clowns trying to survive the last days of East Germany. Their journey is almost like Dante’s inferno, as they are let out of prison, and they venture through garbage dumps and down rivers into unbelievable situations. Each stage of their quest is set up like a cabaret piece, complete with songs they sing that describe their plight. They find themselves in an almost no-man’s land, and their observations are critical of both East and West Germany.

The title of the movie is a play of words merging of the word ‘Dada’ and the DDR (Deutsche Demokratische Republik). This highly unique flick also surprisingly features Rainer Werner Fassbinder regular Irm Hermann in a cameo role. Another outrageously rare screening of totally forgotten cinema.

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

Rosa Luxemburg (1986)

Sunday 17 June 2018, Movie night: Rosa Luxemburg (1986). Die Geduld der Rosa Luxemburg, by Margarethe von Trotta. German with English subtitles | 123 min.
Doors 20:00 | Film 20:30

“Freedom is always the freedom of the one who thinks differently.”

Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919): german-polish socialist, docorate in a time when women couldn’t graduate on German universities, speaker of the Left in the Labour Partry 20 before women in Germany gained the right to vote, co-founder of the Spartakus group, icon of the student movement in Germany. Margarethe von Trotta’s film “The patience of Rosa Luxemburg” tells her story, but als paints a clear picture of the economic and social situation in Germany before the First World War.

Von Trotta didn’t work to on the basis of the ledgend. She didn’t deal with the different views of her, didn’t explain anything, didn’t justify anything. She lets Rosa Luxemburg speak for herself. The basis of the scenes and dialogues in the film are mainly the 2500 letters Luxemburg send to friends and comrades. The film only shows what can be documented in such a way – the film is radical and subjective because it is only commit to one truth: the truth of Rosa Luxemburg herself.

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: Girls in Uniform (1931)

Sunday 27 May 2018, Movie night: Girls in Uniform / Mädchen in Uniform (Leontine Sagan, 1931).
German with English subtitles | 98 minutes.
Doors 20:00 | Film 20:30

At a boarding school that turns the daughters of soldiers into future mothers of soldiers, 14-year old Manuela falls in love with one of her teachers.
“Mädchen in Uniform” was groundbreaking in having an all-female cast; in its sympathetic portrayal of lesbian “pedagogical eros”; and in its co-operative and profit-sharing financial arrangements (although these failed). Unsurprisingly it was banned in Nazi Germany, and only re-released on television in 1977, some 20 years after a much toned-down remake with Romney Schneider.

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