Thursday, 30 June 2011

Petri trilogy Sunday 24th July

Elio Petri's 'social schizophrenia' trilogy

Sunday 24th July | Doors 5.30pm | Admission Free

Colorama Cinema
52-56 Lancaster Street
London SE1

6pm Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto / Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (110mins)

8pm Talk by Alberto Toscano and discussion

9pm La classe operaia va in paradiso / The Working Class Goes to Heaven (109mins)

11pm La proprietà non è più un furto / Property is no Longer Theft (120mins)

People want to go to the cinema just to forget pressing events. Nor do they want political or ethical lessons to pour from the screen. People know enough about unhappiness and do not want to hear anything about it. They do not want pedagogism nor brain washing. They want to enjoy themselves. Movies in the cinema must be consumer goods, like everything else, with no trace of trouble, nor uneasiness. This is the moment we are going through; that indifference, not to mention mistrust, has never spurred any mind. [...]

Today, to make a film, plenty of craziness and a great love for the cinema is required. And this is probably the only positive side of the matter. - Elio Petri, from the book L'avventurosa storia del cinema italiano

Indagine su un cittadino al di sopra di ogni sospetto / Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion, 1970, (110mins)

During a crackdown on political dissidents of the day, a suave, psychopathic Roman police inspector (Gian Maria Volonté) slashes the throat of his masochistic mistress (Florinda Bolkan). Perversely put in charge of the investigation, the inspector plants clues that implicate himself and then craftily diffuses them, ostensibly to prove his invincibility. A biting critic of Italian police methods and a psychological study of a budding crypto-fascist, the film outraged the Italian Right, but proved a huge box office success.

La classe operaia va in paradiso / The Working Class Goes to Heaven, 1971 (109mins)

Petri's absurd political fable shared top honours at the Cannes Film Festival with compatriot Francesco Rosi's The Mattei Affair. A giddy, gut-level, sex-and-politics criticism of industrial capitalism, the film features Petri regular Gian Maria Volonté as Lulu, a gung-ho Turin factory worker caught up in the dehumanizing wheels of mechanical production and meaningless mass production. Sexual fantasies drive his productivity for the company, but his perspective of work and life undergo a radical transformation when he is injured in a factory accident and temporarily laid off. Petri opts for an aggressive, expressionistic visual and aural approach that effectively captures the brutality of modern industrial working conditions. Golden Palm at Cannes (1972)

La proprietà non è più un furto / Property is no Longer Theft
, 1973 (120mins)

Money (and private property) are definitely the root of all evil in this eccentric work, the third film remains the most rarely seen in this loose trilogy on "social schizophrenia" that also includes Petri's Investigation on a Citizen Above Suspicion and The Working Class Goes to Heaven. This barbed satire concerns a lowly bank clerk (Flavio Bucci) allergic to money and revolted by its nefarious influence on humanity. He launches a campaign of harassment against a wealthy butcher (Ugo Tognazzi), stealing small insignificant items (but never money) from the man.

Alberto Toscano

As part of this screening, Alberto Toscano will give a short talk putting Petri's trilogy in it's political context in the expanding social struggles of Italy in the early 1970s. Alberto teaches at Goldsmiths College, publishes widely in the Anglosphere, Italy and France. Amongst his listed interests are: Marx and Marxisms; theories of ‘real abstraction’ and value in capitalism; anarchism and communism; political subjectivity; revolt, revolution, and social change; the politics and sociology of religion (fanaticism, messianism, political theology); Italian workerism (operaismo) and autonomism; cognitive capitalism and immaterial labour; biopolitics; imperialism and empire; economic sociology; contemporary French and Italian thought; the politics of art and the aesthetics of the economy.

There is currently an excellent page of links relating to struggles contemporary with these films on Deterritorial Support Group

Colorama Cinema
52-56 Lancaster Street
London SE1

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Upcoming dates - July 2011

We're ramping up activity this July with three screenings this month.


Colorama Cinema
52-56 Lancaster Street
London SE1

Sunday 24th July
Elio Petri's 'social schizophrenia' trilogy

Doors 5.30pm

6pm Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion (110mins)

8pm Talk by Alberto Toscano w/ discussion

9pm The Working Class Goes to Heaven (109mins)

11pm Property is no Longer Theft (120mins)


Thursday 28th July
The Immediate Broth

Glasgow / Edinburgh Film-making collective, The Immediate Broth, present their recent films

Doors 7.30pm

Film Programme starts 8pm


Neil Gray, 2010 (UK, 15 mins)

The Process
Sacha Kahir, 2010 (UK, 23 mins)

Vaguing in Oppidanus
Neil Gray / Sacha Kahir, 2010 (UK, 20 mins)

Sunday 31st July
The Beggar's Opera Double Bill

Doors 7.30pm

8pm Die 3groschenoper / The Threepenny Opera by Georg Wilhelm Pabst, 1931 (Germany, 110mins)

10pm A Ópera do Malandro / The Opera of the Rascal by Ruy Guerra and Chico Barque, 1986 (Brazil, 107mins)


Thursday, 16 June 2011

Awash with Work: working on water special

Sunday 26th June | Doors 6pm

Colorama Cinema
52-56 Lancaster Street
London SE1

by Marco Santarelli and Paolo Varriale, 2009.(Italy, 71 min)

Written by Marco Santarelli and Paolo Varriale. Directed and edited by Marco Santarelli, shot by Marco Santarelli and Carlo Vittucci. The documentary examines the life and work of an Italian-Russian crew, working on a container ship. The documentary begins in Genoa and ends in Tripoli, on Christmas night.

A journey at sea in the company of containers , goods and modern day sailors, a scene akin to a long silent conversation with ghosts from other times. A mobile and secret exile made of repeated and repetitive gestures, "GenovaTripoli" tells us of the lige and the work of a crew on a container ship of Russian origin, the Jolly Indaco. Un until the '80s this ship was used by the Soviet army to transport military equipment. The documentary starts in Genova and concludes offshore in Tripoli on Christmas night. This is the first of a trilogy dedicated to the circulation of goods and to the world of docks and cargos.

From an interview with Marco Santarelli.

Q: from arms to containers. These are the "boxes" which are ultimately the main characters in the film, even though they remain visually and metaphorically in the ships hold.

MS: Well, containers are only the narrative pretext for this journey. What interests me is to show the work involved in the transport of containers, the contrast between a 'liquid society', where everything happens in real time, and a 'hard society', the one that allows for things that seem normal to take place. The good that are at our disposal have arrived at us through a journey. Sometimes thay have crossed rough seas, where it's easy for everything to grind to a halt. Behind this situation the constant 'risk' we find a 'hard' work force at play,


The Seafarers
by Stanley Kubrick, 1953, (US, 30mins)

Kubrick was commissioned by the Seafarers International Union to film a documentary extolling the benefits of membership of the Seafarers Union. The film marked his first exploration into colour cinematography. The film's design was to showcase the Seafarers Union service to its members and to recruit young men into a life at sea by explaining the benefits and job security of being part of a union.

There are shots of ships, machinery, a canteen, and a union meeting. The film was supervised by the staff of The Seafarers Log, the union magazine. For the cafeteria scene in the film, Kubrick chose a long, sideways-shooting dolly shot to establish the life of the seafarer's community; this shot is an early demonstration of a signature technique that Kubrick would use in his feature films.


by Jason Massot, 2004 (UK, 78mins)

For first-timer Jason Massot, the impulse to make this poignant feature-length examination on the solitary, transient lives of merchant seamen was a desire to examine male solitude and transience. His self-funded DV documentary follows four seamen (a Swede, a Croat, a Polynesian and a Nigerian) as they wait in Rotterdam, the world's largest port, to return to the sea. While each finds himself there for a different reason, all share a world and profession that exerts enormous emotional, relational and economic pressures on them. On the cutting edge of globalisation, with their wages forever in danger of being slashed, they exist in a limbo of often deep loss, be it of home, family, female contact, or even identity. Massot watches quietly as they wait to move on, building the film distinctively from the 'downtime' rhythms of the mariners' days and circling thoughts. It's effectively accompanied by the guitar of Will Oldham, his ambient acoustic score giving a melancholy music to the echoing halls and empty reaches of the docks and 'placeless' industrial zones.

Thames Film

by William Raban, 1986 (UK 66mins Colour 16mm transfer to DVD)

Raban's reflective, ambivalent approach to cinematic Modernism reaches its apogee in Thames Film (1986)...Narrated by john Hurt, it is the closest Raban comes to a conventional documentary, incorporating archive film from 1921-1951, panoramic photographs taken in 1937. Brueghel the Elder's painting the Triumph of Death and T.S.Eliot reading Four Quartets. Raban centres a study of the sites of modernity, and the meanings that time has inscribed into them, on the Thames, juxtaposing shots of the river in 1986 with readings from Thomas Pennant's Journey from London to Dover(1787, close to the emblematic date of 'modernity', 1789). Modernity is put on trial: Pennant's links between British imperialism, technological advances and the Thames are juxtaposed with derelict British imperialism, technological advances and pompous voiceovers from post-war newsreels anticipating the collapse not just of the Empire but also the ideals which supported it.
Gareth Buckell, review on William Raban DVD release (BFI 2005). See Lux : clip

Madame X: Eine Absolute Herrscherin | Madame X: An Absolute Ruler
By Ulrike Ottinger,1977 (Germany, 141 mins)

On the women's ship Orlando the flags of attack, leather, weapons, lesbian love and death are raised with a beauty which dispenses with a total domination of the viewer's gaze.
The aesthetic is strictly stylized, exhibiting itself without overwhelming us. Description from Ottinger’s website

In this extravagantly aestheticized, postmodern pirate film she appropriates the male genre for feminist allegory. Madame X — the cruel, uncrowned ruler of the China seas — promises "gold, love, and adventure" to all women who'll leave their humdrum lives behind. Gathered aboard her ship, Orlando, are a range of types: a frumpy housewife, a glamorous diva, a psychologist, a very German outdoorswoman, a bush pilot, an artist (played by Yvonne Rainer), and a "native" beauty. Their utopia devolves into betrayal and self-destruction—leading to eventual transformation—as the power games of the outside world are ritualized among the women. Tabea Blumenschein, who designed the film's outrageous costumes, appears in a dual role as the pirate queen and the ship's lovely, leather clad figurehead. Refusing conventional storytelling and realism for a rich, non-synchronous soundtrack, the film invites its audience along for an unprecedented journey that celebrates the marginal." — Patricia White, Swarthmore College

Friday, 10 June 2011

The contained and purposeful energy of the maritime proletariat

What one sees in the harbor is the concrete movement of goods. […] If the stock market is the site in which the abstract character of money rules, the harbor is the site in which material goods appear in bulk, in the very flux of exchange. […] But the more regularized, literally containerized, the movement of goods in harbors, that is, the more rationalised and automated, the more the harbor comes to resemble the stock market.
From Allan Sekula's essay 'Red Passenger' available from

Excerpts from The Death Ship by B. Traven

It was that same sea on which thousands and thousands of decent and honest ships were sailing at this very time. And I, of all sane persons on earth and on sea. I had to ship on this can that was suffering from leprosy. A bucket that was sailing for no other reason but that the sea might have pity on her. Somehow, I felt that the sea would not take this tub, which had all the diseases know under heaven, for the simple reason that the sea did not wish to be infected with leprosy and pus. Not yet at least. She, the sea, still waited for the day when the Yorikke would have to be in some port far out of the way and when this old maid, for some reason or other, would then burst or explode or fall apart and so save the sea from being used as cemetery for this pest of the oceans. p.136

A merry life. Hundreds of Yorikkes, hundreds of death ships are sailing the seven seas. All nations have their death ships. Proud companies with fine names and beautiful flags are not ashamed to sail death ships. There have never been so many of them since the war for liberty and democracy that gave the world passports and immigration restrictions, and that manufactured men without nationalities and without papers by the ten thousand.

Sailors, on the other hand, are slaves that are not brought and that cannot be sold. Nobody is interested in their well-being, because if one of them falls overboard, or dies in the dung, no one loses any money on him. Besides there are thousands eagerly waiting to take the place of him who is thrown into the ditch along the road to the progress and prosperity of the shipping business.

Sailors are certainly not slaves. They are free citizens, and if they have established residences, they are even entitled to vote for the election of a new sheriff; yes, sir. Sailors are free labourers, they are free, starved, jobless, tired, all of their limbs broken, their ribs smashed, their feet and arms and backs burned. Since they are not slaves, they are forced to take any job on any ship, even if they know beforehand that the bucket has been ordered down to the bottom to get the insurance money for the owners. There are still ships sailing the seven seas under the flags of civilized nations on which sailors may be whipped and lashed mercilessly if they refuse to ship double watches and half of the third watch thrown in.

We, the gladiators of today, we must perish in dirt and filth. We are too tired even to wash our faces. We starve because we fall asleep at the table with a rotten meal before us. We are always hungry because the shipping company cannot compete with the freight rates of other companies if the sailors get food fit for human beings. The ship must go to the ground port, because the company would be bankrupt if the insurance money would not save her. We do not die in shining armour, we gladiators of today. We die in rags, without mattresses or blankets. We die worse than pigs in Chic. We die in silence, in the stokehold. We see the sea breaking in through the cracked hull. We can no longer go up and out. We are caught. The steam hisses upon us out of cracked pipes. Furnace doors have opened and the live coal is on us, scorching what is still left of us. We hope and pray that the boiler will explode to make it short and sure. 'Oh, down there, those men,' says the stateroom passenger who is allowed to look through a hole, 'those filthy sweating devils, oh, never mind, they do not feel it, they are accustomed to the heat and to such things as a ship going down; it's their business. Let's have another cock well iced'.

Of course, we are used to all that may happen. We are the black gang. If you are hungry and you need a job, take it. It's yours. Others are waiting to take it for less.

We go to hell without martial music and without the prayers of the Episcopalian. We die without the smiles of beautiful ladies, without holding their perfumed handkerchiefs in our hands. We die without the cheering of the excited crowd. We die in deep silence, in utter darkness, and in rags. We die in rags for you, O Caesar Augustus! Hail to you, Imperator Capitalism! We have no names, we have no souls, we have no country, we have no nationality. We are nobody, we are nothing.

Next Full Unemployment Cinema event is:
Awash With Work: a working on water special

June 26th

by Marco Santarelli, 2009
(fwith other shorts and excerpts TBA)

>>> Check the website closer to the time for details >>>

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Special Screening - THE EMPTY PLAN - 10th June 7.30pm

The Empty Plan
by Anja Kirschner & David Panos (2010)

Friday 10th June | Doors 7.30pm | Film starts 8pm

Cine Rama
52-56 Lancaster Street
London SE1

The film-makers will be present and the screening will be followed by a Q&A / discussion. Refreshments will be available.

The Empty Plan
by Anja Kirschner & David Panos (2010)
Runtime: 78 mins, Format: HD / Custom Ratio 3:2

Shifting between documentary, historical reconstruction and melodrama, The Empty Plan interrogates the relationship between theory and practice in the theatre of Bertolt Brecht.

The film contrasts scenes from Brecht's exile in Los Angeles (1941 to 1947) with productions of his 1931 play The Mother in the late Weimar Republic, New Deal America and post-war East Germany, exploring different modes of performance and their relation to changing historical and political circumstances.

The title of the film is taken from Brecht's Messingkauf Dialogues, an unfinished theoretical work written during his exile, which considers the possibilities of 'committed art' and its practical, theoretical and formal limits at a time when revolutionary mass movements had been defeated and theatre was supplanted by Hollywood cinema as the dominant form of popular entertainment.

Through the figures of Brecht, his collaborator Ruth Berlau and his wife, the actress Helene Weigel, the film reflects on conflicting personal, artistic and political ambitions, raising questions about the nature of art and the unrealised dream of its supersession through revolutionary practice.

More about the film and film-makers

For more details about the film and our monthly screenings see: