Hammer & Tickle
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Working from George Orwells observation that under repressive political regimes, jokes are tiny revolutions," Ben Lewis Hammer & Tickle shows how, in the former Soviet bloc, jokes enabled people to dissent from state authority during an era when such dissent was strictly forbidden. Bridging the gap between individuals lived experience and official state-issued propaganda, jokes eased the cognitive dissonance of life under communism in ways that were at once culturally important and politically significant. Jokes were an essential part of the communist experience because the monopoly of state power meant that any act of non-conformity, down to a simple turn of phrase, could be construed as a form of dissent," Lewis explains. By the same token, a joke about any facet of life became a joke about communism. There have been political and anti-authority jokes in every era, but nowhere else did political jokes cohere into an anonymous body of folk literature as they did under communism."
2009-12-13 | Hammer & Tickle screens at 7:30 p.m. at the 92nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY.
2007-04-14 | Hammer & Tickle screens at the Bucharest Film Festival, Romania
2007-03-27 | Hammer & Tickle screens at the Tiburon International Film Festival, Tiburon, CAView full event archive for Hammer & Tickle ››