Dusan Makavejev

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 Rosenbaum Read 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 »