El pico (Cine Quinqui series)

Tuesday, 17 December

El pico (Cine Quinqui series)

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EL PICO    1983 Directed by Eloy de la Iglesia 105 minutes In Spanish and Basque with English subtitles

This is the key movie of the controversial cine quinqui movement in Spain. While Europe seemingly only produced a handful of heroin dramas like Christiane F., in Spain the genre caught on like wildfire. One of the filmmakers most clearly associated to cine quinqui was Eloy de la Iglesia. His early 1970s films were very low budget, rough and gritty in a wonderful Blaxploitation kind of way. More importantly the movies were shot on location, starring non-actors who often re-enacted moments of their own lives. Many of these cine quinqui stars became sensations and were featured in the pages of glossy gossip magazines. Their fame threw them down a spiral of increasing drug-use, ever more ambitious bank heists and longer prison sentences. Not least because the authorities were shocked by the popularity of these young criminals and came down on them with tremendously harsh 'exemplary' punishments.

El pico is the culmination of the quinqui movement, but it is also much more than that. No longer a low-budget affair, this movie is a full-fledged political thriller. And it hit the screens at a strange time... eight years after Franco's death, a new socialist government had just been elected. The country was finally turning the page on the 40 years of dictatorship. And then this motherfucking flick came out, showing how the cops were also involved in the heroin trade. The portrayal of the Guardia Civil in this film was written off at the time as a conspiracy theory. It would take another fifteen years for the Supreme Court to admit the accusations made in this movie... about how the Guardia Civil worked hand in hand with drug dealers to stifle a rebellious unemployed Basque youth.

And it doesn't end here. El pico is also a film about homosexual emancipation. In contrast to Almodovar's campy early films, Eloy de la Iglesia presented us with a brave, politically engaged, deeply humane gay character as his star. In the role of the beautiful young junkie we find Eloy's long-time lover Jose Luis Manzano, one of the many junkie celebrities of the time. As a teenager, Manzano had tried to mug the film director, but ended up starring in several of his films.

El pico was a massive box-office success, despite the horrendous attacks by film critics in Spain. It was never distributed aboard, and therefore we will have subtitles especially hand-crafted for us by the Forked Tongue Collective on this special screening.

This will be a high-definition projection, accompanied by our recent publication Puncture / Slash.

Date & Time: 

Tuesday, 17 December, 2019 - 20:30


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  • 3-5 €
- 3 €
Filmhuis Cavia
Van Hallstraat 52-1
1051 HH Amsterdam


Go through the gate. Cavia is on the right hand side, above Xena Sports. Take the stairs.


Former squat, now legalised

Filmhuis Cavia is a counterculture cinema, founded in 1983 by a squatters movement, which programs films you aren't likely to see anywhere else.


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opening times: 

Our regular screenings are on Tuesdays (programmed by Jeffrey), Thursdays and Fridays, but we also have extra screenings and film festivals throughout the year. Look us up to find our monthly program.

Doors always open half an hour before the film starts.

Weekly programme of film screenings in a circuit of underground / self-organised venues. Forgotten movies that should have been classics, neglected flics, lesser-known gems, always with a personal introduction by the programmer. All films in English, or with English subtitles.


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opening times: 

mostly Sunday to Thursday at about 7 different underground locations.