Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 7:30pm
Johan van der Keuken's The White Castle

155 Freeman Street, Brooklyn

The White Castle (Het Witte Kasteel)
Johan van der Keuken, 16mm, 1973, 76 mins
Introduced by Peter Hutton

A tour de force of dialectical editing, Johan van der Keuken’s The White Castle forms the middle segment of his “North-South Triptych” of documentaries. In this chapter, van der Keuken trains his camera on three different locales: the Spanish island of Formentara, a rural enclave in the process of becoming a tourist destination; African-American neighborhoods of Columbus, Ohio, where younger generations are facing poverty by embracing new forms of political organizing; and two factories in The Netherlands, one of which becomes occupied by its workers. While these three sites at first seem disparate, and their inhabitants isolated from one another, van der Keuken reveals connections among them through a complex rhyming and repetition of images. Spanish peasants slaughtering sheep and kneading bread, young Ohioans discussing police oppression, and factory workers methodically producing car upholstery all become part of a larger system, in which the flow of capital necessitates the creation of a kind of Third World inside the West itself. A White Castle restaurant comes to serve as an ominous symbol for both the racial divisions within America and the assembly-line logic of production that determines the structure of lives worldwide.

“In The White Castle two themes are central: the idea of a vast conveyor-belt that runs throughout the world and the idea of democratization going on in smaller communities. The teenagers from the slums of Columbus form this kind of community, one that’s searching for its own values. The images, grouped around these two themes, are about social fragmentation and isolation, which is caused by an unequal distribution of capital and knowledge, and which leads to the formation of ghettos, in which people live as the refuse of effects of supply and demand....The pattern shattering in The White Castle comes to expression through the form itself. Almost every moment gets lifted out of its everyday context and transferred into other contexts. Certain images emerge over and over again, with varying meanings. This way there’s no storyline developing with a beginning and ending, but a whole that constantly keeps on moving.” - Johan van der Keuken

Print courtesy of EYE Film Institute Netherlands.

Tickets - $7, available at door.

Please note: seating is limited. First-come, first-served. Box office opens at 7pm.