“Man works in order to eat.”
“What a discovery!”
“The food goes down, here is the machine that crunches it, and it’s ready for exit.
The same as in a factory.
“Yeah, so what?”
This is arguably one of the greatest political films ever made. And amongst those, Petri’s is inarguably one of the funniest, most savage, and nearly unhinged: a film that condemns the entire order of value, labor, and politics under capital, yet isn’t quite sure what can be done against it other than a increasing slide toward insanity and attacks on inflatable animals. Disowned by the Left of all stripes (for alternately managing to make the “anti-union” left look like halitosis-ridden bearded shouters and the unionists look like those who can’t think beyond the given social forms of the factory), it perfectly nails the messiness of the situation without ever suggesting that there is no alternative. Add to this Gian Maria Volonté’s straight-up bestial rage, one of the more awkward sex scenes I’ve ever laid eyes on, the fear that your child may be a “moody Martian,” burning the car of the boss, machines to be cared for and machines that mutilate your hands, and a startling anti-work elaboration, via absurdist humor, of the most pressing theoretical and practical questions of that decade.
Tuesday, February 1st
Stevenson 150, 8 PM
For the remainder of the quarter, we will be showing 1970s films from different countries each week. Same time, same place. All are welcome. Tell your family, tell your friends.