Press Release – People’s Cinema
Thanks to Urban Dream Brokerage and The Wellington Company, for 30 days 57 Manners Street will be turned into a people’s cinema, a free cinema screening local films that might not otherwise get a public screening and films from around the world that provoke thought about the state of the world today.
People’s Cinema is itself not a cinema per se, but the performance of a cinema. It is an experiment in what a people’s cinema might look like; an urban dream of a cinema of the people.
With this in mind, the opening night of this people’s cinema, Wednesday 10 April, 7:30pm, will include the screening of two short films by a Russian collective by the name of ‘Chto Delat?’, which can be translated as ‘What is to be done?’
Both films deal with the question of the political limits of artistic spaces and artistic practice, i.e., how political can art be before it gets in trouble?
Both films are what Chto Delat?, after Bertolt Brecht, call ‘songspiels'; essentially they are short political musicals.
The first film is ‘Museum Songspiel: The Netherlands 20XX’. It is set in a contemporary art museum where a group of illegal immigrants have sought refuge. From Chto Delat?: “The film is a kind of acid test on how socially concerned art might operate under severe pressure of control by nationalistic populist governments.”
The second film, ‘The Lesson on Dis-Content’, documents the performance of a songspiel in which “a chorus of patients” attempt to politicise the question of mental health. From Chto Delat?: “Our work critiques the modern concept of a healthy lifestyle and discusses how we might radicalize this concept and “turn illness into a weapon.””