Dusan Makavejev

  • Dusan Makavejev – Montenegro (1981)

    Marilyn Jordan (Susan Anspach) is a bored, depressed American housewife, married to a rich Swedish businessman with two seemingly perfect children. She tries to “spice up” her existence by surprising the family when she eats their entire dinner, setting the bedclothes on fire and poisoning the pet dog’s milk and then advising it not to drink (the dog does not drink). Eventually Martin, Marilyn’s husband, decides to show her to a psychiatrist, but that only serves to further her frustration.Read More »

  • Dusan Makavejev – Gorilla Bathes at Noon (1993)

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    A Russian Expatriate Adrift in Berlin
    The most striking image in “Gorilla Bathes at Noon,” Dusan Makavejev’s whimsical cinematic collage set in present-day Berlin, is a gigantic statue of Lenin that stands as a ludicrous anachronism in the post-Communist era. In one of the film’s zanier scenes, Victor Borisovich (Svetozar Cvetkovic), an expatriate Russian soldier and the film’s main character, impulsively hoists himself on ropes to the statue’s head to wash its face. Moments later, the police arrive and ensnare him in a net from which he protests, “Ich bin ein Berliner!”

    Not long afterward, workers begin detaching the head of the statue from its body. Lifted by crane, the severed head is lowered slowly onto a flatbed truck and carted off through the streets of Berlin. So much for Communism and kitsch monuments exalting its heroes.
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  • Dusan Makavejev – Nevinost bez zastite aka Innocence Unprotected (1968)

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    Quote:
    Innocence Unprotected was originally filmed in 1941 under the title Nevinoz bez Zastite; it was meant to be the first all-talking feature ever made in Serbia. Yugoslav gymnast Dragolijub Aleksic wrote, produced, directed and starred in this simple tale of a young man who rescues his lady love from her wicked stepmother. The film was never released, falling victim to the Nazi censors; later on, the film was condemned as pro-Nazi (huh?) Flash-forward to 1968: documentary filmmaker Dusan Makavejev unearthed this forgotten film, expanded upon it with newsreel footage of Dragolijub Aleksic performing his athletic feats and filmed interviews with the surviving cast members, and came up with Innocence Unprotected. The result is less a dramatic film than a montage-like celebration of Yugoslavian customs, folklore, and humor. Makavejev referred to Innocence Unprotected as a “montage of attractions”; viewers will no doubt find those attractions most attractive.Read More »

  • Dusan Makavejev – Ljubavni slucaj ili tragedija sluzbenice P.T.T. AKA Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator (1967)

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    An early (1967) film by Dusan Makavejev, the master of the eastern European dirty joke (WR: Mysteries of the Organism, Montenegro). The passionate affair of a telephone operator and a Marxist rodent exterminator is intercut with lectures on criminology and sexology, with occasional cooking lessons. It’s very funny and, with its ragged arrangement of warring styles and ideologies, very original: it’s like a smutty, sticky-fingered Godard. – Dave Kehr, The Chicago ReaderRead More »

  • Dusan Makavejev – Sweet Movie (1974)

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    Dušan Makavejev’s anarchic 1974 comedy goes even further than his previous W.R., depicting more trangressions than the average viewer’s imagination could conjure up.

    From Time Out London:
    Potentially one of the most scandalous films ever made—except that it has been little seen outside France and has not aged well. Seemingly completely episodic, the ‘plot’ follows the adventures of a beauty queen (Laure), a certified virgin who escapes a disastrous honeymoon with the richest man in the world to join a group of carefree sensualists. The latter are the once-notorious Otto Muehl troupe, who delight in pissing and shitting as a public spectacle. This is cross-cut with the journey of the good ship SS Survival (which sports Karl Marx for a masthead) on the Seine. Laure herself sought legal suppression of certain shots which, in their blanked out form, ironically suggest even more sexual activity on her part. Sadly, this highly idiosyncratic melange of sex and politics, for all its liberating pretensions, only served to put Makavejev’s career back a good few steps. –David ThompsonRead More »

  • Dusan Makavejev – Covek nije tica AKA Man Is Not A Bird (1965)

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    Dušan Makavejev’s debut feature, establishing his freewheeling, exploratory, and often childlike style.

    From the Chicago Reader:
    [One of the best Chicago releases of 1974.]  “His first, seen here last, like all his others only better. A parable on Socialist living, enacted on the playground of peasants in the industrial landscape.” –Myron Meisel

    From Time Out London:
    Makavejev’s first feature is a delightful, typically eccentric concoction, centred very loosely indeed around a story about an engineer who visits a new town to assemble mining machinery. There his devotion to work fouls up his relationship with his beloved, while a fellow worker encounters problems when his wife discovers he has a mistress. A freewheeling kaleidoscope mixing comedy and social comment as it deals with both labour and sexual politics, not to mention many seemingly unrelated topics such as hypnotism and culture (there’s a marvellous climactic scene with Beethoven performed in an enormous foundry while the heroine conjures her own ode to joy), it defies description but is extremely entertaining. – Geoff Andrew
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  • Dusan Makavejev – Manifesto aka A Night of Love (1988)

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    In a Central European country a provincial town prepares for the king’s visit, and the chief of the secret police arrives to uncover a suspected anarchist plot. This is perhaps Makavejev’s most “mainstream” film, and an unexpected delight. Its pleasures are both the director’s usual satirical commentary on revolutionary politics, and the eccentricities and quirks of the individual characters and their bizarre, mad interactions.Read More »

  • Dusan Makavejev – W.R. – Misterije organizma aka W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971)

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    From the Chicago Reader:

    We may forget that the most radical rethinking of Marx and Freud found in European cinema of the late 60s and early 70s came from the east rather than the west. Indeed, it’s hard to think of a headier mix of fiction and nonfiction, or sex and politics, than this brilliant 1971 Yugoslav feature by Dusan Makavejev, which juxtaposes a bold Serbian narrative shot in 35-millimeter with funky New York street theater and documentary shot in 16. The “WR” is controversial sexual theorist Wilhelm Reich and the “mysteries” involve Joseph Stalin as an erotic figure in propaganda movies, Tuli Kupferberg of the Fugs “killing for peace” as he runs around New York City with a phony gun, and drag queen Jackie Curtis and plaster caster Nancy Godfrey pursuing their own versions of sexual freedom. – Jonathan RosenbaumRead More »

  • Dusan Makavejev – Sweet Movie [+Extras] (1974)

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    Plot Synopsis [AMG]
    Like his WR: Mysteries of the Organism, Dusan Makavejev’s controversial 1974 feature Sweet Movie is firmly rooted in the principles of psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich. In cinematic terms, this means bombarding the audience with an onset of imagery so visceral, disgusting and repellent that it “awakens” the viewer in a Brechtian manner by “short-circuiting” the audience’s reactions. Sweet Movie interweaves two narratives. One begins with a trip to the “Miss World Virginity Contest,” whose winner, Miss Monde 1984 (Carole Laure) is auctioned off to Mr. Kapital (Animal House’s John Vernon), a Texas oil billionaire with an odd perversion. Instead of deflowering her on her wedding night, he sterilizes the terrified girl’s body with rubbing alcohol and showers her in urine with his massive gold-plated penis, while an audience watches bemusedly through his bedroom window. She later escapes from her bridegroom, in a suitcase, and winds up at a wild Viennese commune whose participants indulge in public defecation and a food orgy that wraps with a massive display of gurgling, yakking, and vomiting. At the tale’s conclusion, Miss Monde shoots a television commercial that involves writhing in a giant vat of chocolate, with which she is completely drenched from head to toe, as the cameras roll. The second story involves a woman, Anna Planeta (Anna Prucnal) piloting a candy-filled boat down a river, with a massive papier-mache head of Lenin on the prow and a lover in-tow who is a refugee from the Battleship Potemkin.Read More »

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