Can Dialectics Break Bricks?  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

La Dialectique Peut-Elle Casser Des Briques?, in English, "Can Dialectics Break Bricks?", is a 1973 Situationist film produced by the French director René Viénet which explores the development of class conflict through revolutionary agitation against a backdrop of graphic kung-fu fighting.

The film uses 1972 martial arts film Crush by Tu Guangqi, which tells the story of anti-colonialist revolt in Korea during the period of Japanese occupation, for its visuals which has been dubbed over by the filmmakers in an attempt at détournement. The concept and motivation of this film was to adapt a "spectacular" film into a radical critique of cultural hegemony and thus into tools of subversive revolutionary ideals.

The narrative is based upon a conflict between the proletarian and bureaucrats within state capitalism. The proletarians enlist their dialectics and radical subjectivity to fight their oppressors whilst the bureaucrats defend themselves using a combination of co-optation and violence. The film is noted for its humorous approach to this serious subject matter.

The film also contains many praising references to revolutionaries who thought and fought for the realisation of a post-capitalist world, including Marx, Bakunin, and Wilhelm Reich, as well as scathing criticism towards the French Communist Party, trade unionism and Maoism. Also Subplots dealing with issues of gender equality, alienation, Paris Commune, May 1968, and the Situationist themselves are riddled throughout the film.

Books referenced in the film:

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