Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: finally the legendary Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema (René Viénet, 1973)

Sunday 11 December 2022, Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema: finally the legendary Can Dialectics Break Bricks Cinema (René Viénet, 1973)* 90 minutes * In French with English subtitles. Doors open at 20:00, film starts at 20:30.

This is a movie we wanted to screen for ages – after all, we even named this cinema-night after it. But all of the available copies were so terrible… muddy vhs tape transfers that were virtually unwatchable and took all the joy out of the experience. But now it has finally been restored in its full color glory.

Back in the mid-60s in France there was a group of post-artists that called themselves Situationists. One thing they observed was how even the most radical ideas can be transformed into harmless commercial products by the power of modern marketing. But then they thought – why not reverse the process? Why can’t we take some banal commercial products and turn them into something subversive, alive and meaningful again?

A great example of the wild, sly humor of May 68 can be seen in this delirious flick. The situationist collaborator René Viénet took a 1972 Hong Kong martial arts film called Crush, and replaced the entire soundtrack with his own narration and dialogue. The new dubbed soundtrack he added changes everything, turning the kung-fu film into a politically-charged struggle about gender equality, the alienation of consumer society, the Paris Commune and post-Marxist political theory. And it’s all done with a razor-sharp sense of humor, because joy was part of their ammunition. The new script is witty and snappy. At one point one of the characters asks “What the hell was the original film about anyway?”

To do the new voices on the soundtrack René Viénet brought in some members of the satirical Café de la Gare Theatre group, including the legendary Patrick Dewaere. The finished film is a riot, but one with a message!

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?

23 Apr 2008 – 20:00 – Can Dialectics Break Bricks? By René Viénet

La Dialectique Peut-Elle Casser Des Briques?, in English, “Can Dialectics Break Bricks?”, is a 1973 Situationist film produced by the French director René Viénet which explores the resolution of conflict through dialogue as opposed to violence.

The film uses a much older martial arts film (“The Crush” from Doo Kwang Gee) for its visuals which has been dubbed over by the filmmakers in an attempt at detournement. The concept and motivation of this film was to adapt a bourgeois film into a radical critique of cultural hegemony and thus into tools of subversive revolutionary ideals.

The Narrative is based upon a conflict between the proletarian and bureaucrats within state capitalism. The proletarians enlist their dialectics and radical subjectivity to fight their oppressors whilst the bureaucrats defend themselves using a combination of bribery and violence. The film is noted for its humorous approach to this serious subject matter.

The film also contains many references to revolutionaries who thought and fought for the realisation of a post-capitalist world, including Marx, Bakunin, and Wilhelm Reich. Also Subplots dealing with issues of gender equality, alienation, trade unionism, May 1968, and the Situationist themselves are riddled throughout the film.

The conclusions reached by the filmmakers are that those who would use violence against dialogue will always prevail as they are incapable of following the rational argument.

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