Sweet Movie

( 2 )


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 ...
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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 nude 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. She eventually does a seductive striptease and seduces a pack of children, then makes love to her paramour in a vat of sugar and stabs him through the heart. Throughout the film, Makavejev includes shock cuts to Nazi autopsy footage and medical experimentation footage, some of which involves physical abuse of infants under the guise of "baby gymnastics." Although it has its admirers, Sweet Movie is something of an acquired taste. And that's putting it kindly.
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Special Features

New, restored high-definition transfer, supervised and approved by director Dusan Makavejev; New video interviews with Makavejev and Balkan film scholar Dina Iordanova; Actress Anna Prucnal sings a song from the film; New and improved subtitle translation; Plus: a booklet featuring essays by critic David Sterritt and Harvard professor ; and philospher Stanley Cavell
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
To refer to Dusan Makavejev's Sweet Movie as "one of the most provocative motion pictures ever made" is accurate in the most literal sense: the film's entire purpose appears to be provocation of the viewer. And yet, it never falls into the trap of exploitation. It rests on a well-defined and valid idea: the Reichian observation that contemporary culture and mass media have deadened and desensitized mass audiences to the point of near-catatonia. Guided by this belief, Makavejev uses shock cuts and startling juxtapositions to short-circuit preconditioned responses in the very same way (for example) that stage director Andre Gregory once planned to, when he wanted to amplify the meaning of The Bacchae for Yale viewers by having them pass around an actual severed human head during the production. As a result, everything that we see onscreen in Sweet Movie is brutally visceral, from the image of Mr. Kapital (John Vernon) urinating on his shocked bride with an enormous gold-plated phallus, to the on-camera defecation and regurgitation of the Otto Muehl commune members, to shots of Anna Prucnal's character stabbing her naked lover through the heart amid a vat of sugar. This sort of disorientation works - seldom has there been a film so physically unsettling. One of the interesting side-effects is that it serves as a kind of litmus test for each viewer's sensitivity - what one finds appalling, another may not. (This viewer found most of it surprisingly tolerable, but had to draw the line at the black-and-white Nazi archival footage of "baby gymnastics"). For all of its audacity, Sweet Movie is often blisteringly funny, in sequences such as the urination bit, where Makavejev places Kapital's nutcase mother ("Sock it to me, baby!") and a swaying musical ensemble in the background during the defilement. Curiously, the interpolation of extreme humor works to the picture's great advantage, by preventing it from becoming unwatchably offensive; the belly laughs (like the beautiful Eastern European pop songs that fill the soundtrack) tend to undercut the shocks - mollifying the material and making it slightly more palatable. Even with the comedy to help it go down more easily, though, Sweet Movie still adds up to an indelible experience; those viewers who wish to drive it out of their minds won't be able to. Many detest this picture - it prompted mass walkouts when it screened at Cannes and has been federally banned in many countries - yet adventurous viewers with strong stomachs should give it a serious look. Love it or hate it, though, one can't help but admire the visionary Makavejev for pushing the medium as far as he possibly could, and doing so with a stunningly graceful technique.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/19/2007
  • UPC: 715515024327
  • Original Release: 1974
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:38:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 24,849

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Carole Laure Miss Monde 1984
Pierre Clémenti Potemkin Sailor
Anna Prucnal Anna Planeta
Sami Frey El Macho
Jane Mallet PDG
John Vernon Mr. Kapital
Catherine Sola
Louis Bessieres
George Melly
Roland Topor
Max Fischer
Robin Gammell
Sonny Forbes
Denis Boucher
Sabine Haudepin
Marpessa Dawn Mama Communa
Otto Muehl
Technical Credits
Dusan Makavejev Director, Screenwriter
Yan Dedet Editor
Leonhard Gmuer Asst. Director
Manos Hadjidakis Score Composer
Pierre Lhomme Cinematographer
Vincent Malle Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Sweet Movie
1. Opening Credits
2. The Crazy Daisy Show
3. The Survival
4. Happy Forever
5. The Marriage Bed
6. "You Need a Good Sailor on This Boat
7. Miss World and Mr. Muscle
8. Luv Bakunin's Bath
9. "Let Us Think of These Things Always..."
10. El Macho
11. Stuck Situation
12. Kids in a Candy Store
13. Milky Way
14. The Meal
15. "Is It Cow Shit or My Beloved?"
16. Gymnastics for Babies
17. "Sugar Is Dangerous"
18. Organ
19. Marx's Tears
20. Chocolate
21. .".. and Speak of Them Never"
22. End Credits
23. Color Bars
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Disc #1 -- Sweet Movie
   Play the Movie
   Dusan Makavejev Interview
   Dina Iordanova Interview
   Anna Prucnal Sings
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 2 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
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