Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Medium Cool (Haskell Wexler, 1969)

Sunday 8 May 2022, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Medium Cool (Haskell Wexler, 1969), 111 minutes. In English with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, film starts at 20:30.

This is Haskell Wexler’s legendary movie documenting the explosive course of events in America during the 60s. In 1968 Haskell Wexler was one of the world’s best cameramen, and he had lensed films like One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. But the film industry was changing fast, and he became disillusioned with the commercialization of American cinema, so he decided to direct his own low-budget film about racism and the inherent violence in the US. His plan was to take a fictional story with actors, and mix it with documentary situations… and therefore blur the line between a feature film and documentary. He wanted to create a new kind of cinema, one that was more grounded in real everyday life.

His plan was to finish the film by taking his crew to the 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. This real-life event ended up turning into an apocalyptic “police riot”, with officers beating anyone they could get their hands on. Suddenly the director and the crew were engulfed in a fierce battle, with tear gas flying all around them… as they attempted to still film the actors amidst all the swinging police clubs.

Besides its innovative approach to filmmaking, the movie is also important as a sharp analysis of the mass media in general, and how it was being used to manipulate audience opinions. An incredible time capsule of the social unrest of the late 60s with a soundtrack by Mike Bloomfield (Dylan’s guitarist… Like a Rolling Stone), The Mothers of Invention (Zappa), and Love.

“A definitive document of the political tumult in late-1960s America.”

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