Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Sexmisja (Juliusz Machulski, 1984)

Sunday 14 January 2024, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Sexmission (Sexmisja) * directed by Juliusz Machulski * 1984 * 116 minutes * In Polish with English subtitles * free screening * doors open at 8pm * intro & film start at 8.30

This is easily the most popular comedy to come out of Poland in the 1980s. Because Poland was still in the Eastern block at that time and couldn’t confront their government openly and directly, they instead created indirect attacks…. innuendos that could bypass the censors and reach an audience who could decode and understand them. They were creating their own language of cinema through a specific style of black humor.

Sexmission was one of the major films in this genre, and once again, it’s a film that’s rarely been screened here in the west. The story of this film? Two men kept in hibernation for 50 years learn they are the only surviving living specimens of the male gender in a new underground society run by women. The female archeologist who digs them up concludes that she has found the missing link between women and apes! These two surviving men face harsh treatment from their female guards, and will do anything to save their skin and to re-establish a male dominated population. This is such a wild flick that when viewed today it has the power to offend almost everyone… but I’ll do my best to re-insert it back into its original context to reveal its true meaning. A crazy East-Block black comedy that operates on many levels, starring Jerzy Stuhr (a favorite of Krzysztof Kieslowski).

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: Interrogation (Ryszard Bugajski, 1989)

Sunday 14 may 2023, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Interrogation * 1989 * Directed by Ryszard Bugajski * 118 min * in Polish with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, intro & film start at 20:30.

Considered to be one of the most harrowing movies to come out of Poland in the last century, but also one of the best. Set in 1951, it is about a woman who goes out drinking with some friends, and gets drunk to the point where she passes out. She wakes up in a prison, and she has no idea why. She is endlessly interrogated, threatened and tortured, and accused of being part of a conspiracy with a Russian friend of hers. She is being forced to answer intimate questions about her sexuality and previous lovers, and also they attempt to force her to sign a confession of things she never did.

Actress Krystyna Janda gives a fierce performance as the main character Tonia. She won the best actress award at Cannes in 1982, but the film would not be released in Poland itself until seven years later because it was banned. Director Ryszard Bugajski only was able to make a handful of films, but they were ruthless and hardhitting. I recently screened a movie he later made in Canada called Clearcut about the treatment of the indigenous native people there, and it was breathtaking. Bugajski was always taking shots at those in power – left or right, communist or capitalist, and took sides with the people trampled by those systems. In a way it is a political drama, but it can also be seen as a different kind of horror movie.

Dramatically hard-hitting, fierce, it’s an experience you won’t forget, and something that many people experience around the world, behind closed doors.

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

Tricks (Andrzej Jakimowski, 2007)

Sunday November 3rd 2019, Movie Night: Sztuczki – Tricks by Andrzej Jakimowski, 2007, 95 minutes. In Polsih with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, Film starts at 20:30

This is the story of siblings Stefek, 6, and Elka, 18, along with Elka’s car mechanic boyfriend Jerzy during one sun-drenched summer. The siblings live with their shopkeeper mother. Their father has left their mother for another woman, unaware of Stefek’s existence. After a chance encounter at the local railway station, and despite a denial by his sister that this was his father, Stefek decides to challenge fate to engineer another meeting. He believes that the chain of events he sets in motion will help him get closer to his father who abandoned his mother. His sister Elka teaches him how to bribe fate with small sacrifices. Tricks played, coupled with a number of coincidences eventually bring the father to the mother’s shop but the long-awaited re-union does not immediately materialise as expected. As a last chance Stefak tries his good luck with the most risky of his tricks.

Polish cinema at Joe;s Garage:

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know.

Rewers (Borys Lankosz, 2009)

Sunday September 29th 2019, Reverse / Rewers (Borys Lankosz, 2009). 90 minutes, in Polsih with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, Film starts at 20:30

Darkly satirical comedy, it took 60 years for Poles to be able to laugh about Stalin. This film was a cult hit in Poland. A new wave of young directors is shaking up the sometimes staid and moralistic universe of Polish cinema.
This film is set in Warsaw in the 1950s, with a few flash-forwards to present-day Warsaw. The main character is Sabina, a quiet, shy woman who has just turned thirty, and lives with her mother and ailing grandmother. Sabina lacks a man in her life, and her mother tries hard to find a husband for her. The grandmother, an eccentric lady with a sharp tongue from whom no secret can be concealed, also gets involved. Successive admirers arrive at their small, but tasteful apartment in an antebellum house, but Sabina shows no interest in any of them.
One night, appearing out of nowhere, comes the charming, intelligent, and good-looking Bronislaw. Bronislaw is apparently interested in Sabina, and courts her, and Sabina falls hopelessly in love with him. But when Bronislaw reveals that he is a member of the secret police, and wants Sabina to spy on her boss at the state-run publishing house, things go from bad to worse to macabre. Sabina, her mother and her grandmother are fortunately up to the challenge, revealing a darker side to their otherwise affable personalities.

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: Dom zły (Wojciech Smarzowski, 2009)

Sunday July 12th 2015, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: Dom zły (The Dark House, directed by Wojciech Smarzowski, 2009, 106 minutes). In Polish with English subtitles. Free admission. Door opens at 20:00, Film starts at 21:00.

This is one of the most renowned and popular films from contemporary Poland, and its director is recognized as one of the country’s leading independent artists. The story of this devastating little drama follows an investigation into the murder of a family on a farm in 1978, but the real meaning of the film lies elsewhere in the background. As the police investigation unfolds, the movie becomes an exposé… a dark journey into communist Poland’s past. As the lead character Lieutenant Mróz tries to deduce who the murderer is, he soon discovers that the authorities have absolutely no interest in solving the crime. He’s looking for the truth, and he is told “there is no such thing.”

This is an inventive, but harsh and confronting film that explores the depths of the human soul. Its been described as “An atmospheric Polish horror film set in the communist era.” Like I said, in Poland this riveting and moody gem was a hit… but everywhere else it wasn’t even given a chance outside festivals. […Lees verder]

Movie night: Knife in the Water

Sunday July 20th 2014. Knife in the Water by Roman Polansky, 1962. 94 minutes, in Polish with English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begins at 9pm.

Roman Polanski’s first feature is a brilliant psychological thriller that many critics still consider among his greatest work. The story is simple, yet the implications of its characters’ emotions and actions are profound. When a young hitchhiker joins a couple on a weekend yacht trip, psychological warfare breaks out as the two men compete for the woman’s attention. A storm forces the small crew below deck, and tension builds to a violent climax. With stinging dialogue and a mercilessly probing camera, Polanski creates a disturbing study of fear, humiliation, sexuality, and aggression. This remarkable directorial debut won Polanski worldwide acclaim, a place on the cover of Time, and his first Oscar nomination.

Film night at Joe’s Garage, cozy cinema! Doors open at 8pm, film begins at 9pm, free entrance. You want to play a movie, let us know: joe [at] squat [dot] net

Movie night: Night Train (Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1959)

Sunday June 22th 2014, Night Train (Pociag). Directed by Jerzy Kawalerowicz, 1959, 99 minutes, in Polish with English subtitles. Door opens at 8pm, film begins at 9pm.

Jerzy Kawalerowicz’s Night Train begun like a classic Hitchcockian mystery thriller; but, by the time it got over, the tone and theme had subtly shifted towards human drama and even trenchant social critique – and therein lay the charm of this engaging but largely under-watched Polish film.

This is a more amorphous and ambiguous tale than other contemporary films of the Polish School, and Night Train seems to lack the direct references to recent history and the contemporary political situation of the Poland of the 1950s that are a hallmark of the style. However, the Hitchcockian atmosphere, the unimaginably tight shots and the overall sense of claustrophobia and dread evoke the sense of disappointment following in the wake of 1956 and the end of the Polish Spring. All of Kawalerowicz’s films deal with individual fate in a society being crushed by overwhelming external forces, whether war or politics, in an attempt to examine moral choice under pressure. Night Train is no exception, only here he has created an allegory of misfits among a society of passengers, a society that is predictable, suspicious of individuality, and eager to punish. All of Poland escaping though the night to the end of the line. Ironically, the film may represent in its way the end of the Polish School as well. […Lees verder]