Sweet Movie (Dusan Makavejev / Canada, 1974):

Artists practice what they preach, or Dusan Makavejev does, applying here the Reichian techniques learned in W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism to film form for a filmic orgone therapy. The opening is a flailing Kentucky Fried Movie revue, Carole Laure as wide-eyed Miss Monde 1984, whose immaculate glowing pussy snatches top honors at the World Virginity Contest and marriage to moneyed Yankee Doodle cartoon M. Kapital (John Vernon); their honeymoon gets consummated with golden showers and Carole is stuffed into a valise for a tour of wacky European sexual shocks. Her Eiffel Tower quickie with Latin star El Macho (Sami Frey) turns longie when medical help is needed to unstuck the two humping bodies, and the journey culminates with a detour into Otto Mühl's Therapie-Komune for a documentary view of the full regression treatment -- food-smearing, vomiting, piss-marinating, fun with feces, anality, infantilism, babbling, and assorted kinds of pre-Von Trier spazzing. "Is it cowshit... or my beloved?" Anna Prucnal sings during a communal coprophilic interlude, the closest the two paralleling narratives are woven together; for the rest she's off on escapades of her her own as Anna Planeta, blithe whore and Revolution survivor sailing down Amsterdam canals in a barge adorned with Karl Marx's granitic head, picking up some jumpy sailor named Potemkin (Pierre Clémenti), a true "sexual proletarian." The structure's amorphousness springs mainly from freaked-out Laure's walking out on the film, her character last spotted in Hustler spread-shots in a huge vat of chocolate, yet Makavejev is so open to the politics of sex that his vérité shots enrich and complicate the gross-outs -- the full-on sensory assault of the Mühl wack-pack becomes, if not exactly a solution to the other caricatures, then a humanly, embracingly disgusting response to them. Prucnal shakes her bare cooch an inch from a little boy's nose, but "the world is full of corpses," and Clémenti is stabbed on a bed of sugar until his blood turns black and globby, compounded by views of bodies exhumed at Katyn. Death awaits along the way, but for Makavejev the physicality of sex is a vivifying force, and the movie, like W.R., closes with a literal resurrection, irrational and ineffably moving. With Jane Mallett, and Roy Callender.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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