Sunday, 10 November
Cine quinqui series: Perros callejeros (Street Dogs) and Streetwise
doors open at 18.30, intro starts at 19:00
Double bill - Opening cine quinqui series
to read more about cine quinqui: https://amsterdamalternative.nl/articles/8150
Following the launch of our book at the Anarchist bookfair, we are proud to present the early quinqui classic... Street Dogs I. But first, we warm the room up with a stunning American documentary about street kids who lived much like Antonio de la Loma's young movie stars.
STREETWISE 1984 Directed by Martin Bell 91 minutes In English
Strange documentary with a strange history. The director and his wife had been photographing homeless kids around NYC in the early 80s, and then while they were visiting Seattle the director's wife hooked up with a young girl and decided to make this film. Financing was difficult, but the country & western singer Willie Nelson backed up the necessary cash to finish it. Tom Waits, still early in his career, was recruited to give the film a musical score.
This rare film is both gritty and magical at the same time. It's about kids who live on the streets, many of whom are prostitutes. It's hard-edged but not depressing or dark... documenting what was really happening in the urban wastelands of America in the 80s. A documentary the way documentaries use to be made....unscripted, shooting as things happened, unrehearsed and unstaged...capturing fragments of life on the streets. It is very unlike the documentaries made today with their contrived re-enactments and hyped-up sensationalism, trying to be documentaries and Hollywood movies at the same time. Streetwise is a real slice of life imprinted onto celluloid.
Once again, this is a film that has been almost completely forgotten about and is very difficult to see. When it is screened today it's at either art museums or film festivals about the plight of the homeless. It has an austere aesthetic quality.... absolutely amazing.
PERROS CALLEJEROS (Street Dogs) 1977 Jose Antonio de la Loma In Spanish with English subtitles
Director José Antonio de la Loma had already made almost thirty B-films before he struck fire with Street Dogs and ignited the cine quinqui film genre. Based on the life of a real gypsy boy called El Vaquilla, the film ended up starring his best friend in the role of El Torete. In order to support his step-sister, whose husband is in prison, fifteen year-old Torete and his gang snatch bags, mug couples in cruising areas, and soon graduate to robbing banks. Things get complicated when the young boy falls for a girl who is already engaged and under the custody of her uncle, a fierce local patriarch. Probably the best example of a gypsy détournement of American Blaxploitation.
Under today’s privacy and child-protection laws, the script of Street Dogs, released in 1977, would never have been written. But in 1974, Loma was allowed to swing by Barcelona's Special Crimes Unit and casually browse through a pile of dossiers of underage delinquents. El Vaquilla was the chosen one, and he co-wrote the plot and some of the dialogue, until he was arrested and therefore unable to star in the film.
His friend El Torete (Little Bull) stepped in to play his part. He would become the second quinqui star to rise on the weird horizon of the new Spain to come. A Spain drenched in De la Loma sagas like Street Dogs II, El Torete’s Last Hits, Street She-Dogs, and I, El Vaquilla.
For three years, Loma fought against all kinds of obstacles to get his film made. Not least the brutal censorship machine that was still in place in the years after the dictator Franco’s death. In a voice-over narration at the beginning of Street Dogs, the centre/right-wing, Catholic director explains that we all have a responsibility to punish these children, but also to redeem them from a life of crime. We cannot just abandon them to the pressures of consumerism and the curse of unemployment.
Besides the structural violence inflicted on these children in police interrogation cells, reform schools and a stagnant labour market, Loma puts half of the blame on ‘those dirty gypsies.’ Which probably made the whole thing more acceptable to the censors, but it put the movie in a strange middle ground where it could be attacked by progressives and conservatives alike. Fortunately for Loma, the audiences loved it.
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