Date: 2007 Country: NL, City: Amsterdam, Language: NL, EN subs Length: 30mins, Size: 731mb Type: avi / ogg / iso Film-maker: Robert Hack
Table Bed Chair is a documentary about the squatter scene of Amsterdam. The film combines insights into the history of the squatter movement and its particularly well developed autonomous structures and practices with a focus on the extraordinary legal situation in the Netherlands.
“Squatting is taking over an empty house, basically.” With this statement, cool and precise at once, the viewer is introduced to the world of the ‘krakers’, as Amsterdam’s squatters are called.
Table Bed Chair sketches a documentary portrait of the movement by inquiring into ideological approaches and real-world alternatives to existing social structures. Explosive archival footage traces the historical roots of the movement to its climax in the volatile years of the 1980s when up to 10.000 krakers lived in squatted houses in Amsterdam.
Contrasting interviews are used to explore differing points of view on issues such as selforganisation, autonomy and ideology, as well as violence as a legitimate means in the struggle. The interviewees, all active or former squatters, speak about the lack of housing and missing alternatives. They want to use empty spaces and live the utopia of a better society outside established norms. Because of its heterogeneity the movement is exposed to internal conflicts and constantly forced to change. Laws are being tightened over the decades and the city is slowly regaining control by means of repression as well as legalisation. However, the infrastructure of the earlier movement remains largely intact.
Together with the still unsolved housing problem, this infrastructure constitutes the essential basis of today’s kraker movement in Amsterdam.
The viewer watches squatting in action – the breaking of a door – and is thrust into a world which is romantically presented by the squatters as a kind of green oasis at the heart of the urban waste-land, a legal grey area in which dreams can be turned into reality. After a short, strangely civilized and almost friendly, intermezzo with the owner of the house and the police, the circle of squatter-existence is closed: A whole block of council flats with
more than a hundred apartments is evicted. The voices of krakers barricaded in another house, distorted through the walkie-talkie, urge to hang on in there: “We love it! It’s not the first time and probably not the last time!”