Films, bands & more
FURY! Punk Culture
26 May — 15 June 2016
We’re looking back on four decades of punk to focus on what serious film specialists are referring to as the ‘cinematographic past of punk subculture’. The programme offers a good mix of feature films, documentaries, bands, performances, spoken word shows, DIY films, DJs and punk poets.
The year is 1976, the second industrial era is screeching to a conclusion and the oil crisis is at an all-time low when an undeniable counter-voice is heard in the dilapidated inner cities of London, Amsterdam and New York. A call for rebellion against the capitalist thinking that fills the pockets of the wealthy minority. It's a provocative cry from teens and young adults who no longer want to do what parents, teachers and politicians expect of them.
Our special guest is Don Letts, who was the resident DJ in 1976 when The Roxy opened and where he played punk and reggae. Letts also directed the documentary Punk Attitude (2005), the title of which inspired the retrospective in Eye.
Punk opposes canonization. Forty years after the birth of punk, the Eye programmers are therefore free to set their own criteria for the punk film. We relentlessly push aside classic documentaries about punk bands or commercial films with a stray mohawk. Only films that live and breathe punk in their cinematographic style appear in the programme. This punk attitude can be seen and heard in FURY! Punk Culture. Not because of its nostalgic value, but as a source of inspiration.
Punk films are like the T-shirts of punk's first lady Vivienne Westwood: turned inside out. You see how they work. No Hollywood invisible welds but cuts secured with a safety pin. The acting is often as ostentatious as the haphazardly placed zippers in a punk outfit or the cut-out headlines that Jamie Reed used in his graphic designs for the Sex Pistols. The film characters are like punk music: they have only three chords and a manic tempo.
The films are low budget and produced with simple means. Amateurism was a plus, professionalism suspect. With super 8, 16mm and video cameras, punk filmmakers often shot their scenes in long single takes on location and without permission: hit and run, guerilla-style.
If a punk film is a window on the world, it's the cracked and filthy window of a ruined squat in the centre of a historic metropolis. Not easy to look through, dangerous perhaps, but also exciting. You see walls with graffiti: satirical, political, fun disguised as no fun, or the other way around. Sometimes just a name that exclaims: "See me!" And that is what we would like to invite you to do.
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