So, I (almost) completely enjoyed this visual assult, and I was wondering what everyone on here thought of it, what did you make of the deranged patchwork of scenes that collectively IS Sweet Movie. I believe that this is most definitly a film which warrents discussion, so let’s start one.
classic makavejev. serbian cutting used to the extreme. assaults on standards of taste. political commentary. black humor.
this film is a total contradiction for me. there are some scenes i literally can’t watch (the pissing and shitting stuff). and one scene which i think is the greatest thing makavejev ever put together (the katyn massacre).
“sweet movie” is subversive, anarchic cinema, in form and content. maybe this is what godard meant when he said “the problem is not to make political films, but to make films politically.”
Wow, so I just watched this film again, this time with some unsuspecting roommates, one of which left after the golden penis, two of which enjoyed it but were a little lost at times, and two of which were completely disturbed. Once again I found myself intrigued and even after watching the interview with Makavejev a bit confused myself… hasn’t anyone else on here seen this movie? Doesn’t anyone other than Bobby and I wanna discuss?
people dont really know much about makavejev’s career in general. he doesnt spark a lot of interest. he’s a little bit more obscure than your average obscure eastern european director. i didnt know anything about him myself until 2 years ago. i hope these criterion releases will change that though. plus, the first book-length study of his films has recently been published.
Loved “Sweet Movie”, laughed my ass off at it which surprised me a lot, I didn’t expect it to be so funny. But it is great, one of my fave Criterion movies. The story and just overall craziness of it kept me glued to the tv.
then you’ll love the rest of makavejev’s work. humor is very important to him.
Yeah, I have to say that I laughed (really hard) out loud at a lot of the film, while my roommates were mortified with their mouths agape.
you might want to check out some more of his work, especially LOVE AFFAIR and WR: MYSTERIES OF THE ORGANISM. Both are better than SWEET MOVIE.
Here are some articles from the internet…
Four Films by Dusan Makavejev
An Interview with Dusan Makavejev
WR:Mysteries of the Organism
the birth of the style of “sweet movie” can be found in “love affair.”
but anyway, makavejev is a total original. i haven’t seen any other films like his.
This movie was shown to me at university a few weeks ago.. It’s great the tutor got away with it actually.
I think this film is amazing.. I’m actually writing an essay on it right now. Everything about it is just taken to the extreme.
again, thanks due to criterion. its great to see that hes already experiencing a reemergence and being taught in universities.
I notice Eclipse DVD are releasing a triple box-set in October, comprising Man Is Not a Bird, Love Affair and Innocence Unprotected:
Having enjoyed SM and WR: Mysteries of the Organism, I’m looking forward to viewing these earlier works and seeing if I can trace the kernel of the freewheeling spirit of the later films. It’s a shame Makavejev couldn’t progress it further beyond SM, but I suppose that film was something of a last gasp of that short period of cinematic head-on colisions between sexual liberation, political tracts and pyscho-trippiness, all laced together through an idiosyncratic directorial style. Of course, what is more was the budgets made available for these films by American studios (largely unthinkable since the mid to late seventies) e.g. Roeg’s Performance, Fellini Satyricon, Russell’s The Devils, Holy Mountain, etc. (none directly related but strange biggish budget bedfellows nevertheless).
we discussed that makavejev box set on some other thread. cant remember the name of it. i cant wait for it to come out. those films deserve to be known, in addition to the general brilliance of makavejev’s career.
youll definitely be able to trace the kernel. but “man is not a bird” sort of stands apart from the rest. youll see.
as far as the end of his career (even the beginning), makavejev only worked for an american studio once. so that wasnt so much a factor of his general demise. his fuse just burned short and bright, thats all. but he had a ton of activity in the 50s and 60s (mostly shorts and docs). so he left behind a lot of great work. a majority of it just wasnt feature film work.
The DVD set is called Free Radical, which sounds pretty spot-on.
Did anybody have any new thoughts on Makavejev after seeing the Eclipse box set?
I loved how he ties together Politics and culture and the great contrast between the two leading females. One is a liberated psychopath, the other a commodity. I feel this contrast takes on the criticism of both the East and the West with a great deal of humor tying it together. The western girl is a material commodity subject to the will of male and economic power, and then the Eastern freethinker is much more empowered yet goes as crazy as her idols and end up killing her lovers.
I also feel that the reference to Potemkin does not only serve to reference the failed revolution of the Potemkin but also to a direct reference to Sergei Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin which is a heavy pro-revolutionary propaganda film that was released several decades before Sweet Movie, yet is also packed with heavy imagery and similar editing as Makavejev’s Sweet Movie. The fact that the revolution of the Potemkin eventually fails also makes sense when brought into the context of Sweet Movie since Anna Planeta’s revolution is eventually brought to an end by authorities due to all the homicides that she comits aboard the ship.
There is a lot more I have in mind about this film, I love Makavejev’s work, I’ve seen WR, Love Affair and Man is Not a Bird, and I just watched Sweet Movie. I hope to hear more about it from people in here.
Also, do any of you think that perhaps ‘Rosebud’ and all the roses could be a reference to Orson Welles and Citizen Kane? That sort of just came into my mind.
Potemkin definitely serves as a reference to the film. Makavejev is a descendant of the Soviet montage style. But he’s a little bit more Vertov than Eisenstein.
As far as rosebud, maybe its a simple connection to Welles. I have a feeling it might be more. I don’t think of “Citizen Kane” when watching this film. I believe roses/flowers are a structuring motif of the film. I’d have to analyze it again though to try to get at what he’s doing with them. It’s somehow related to the sweet/sour opposition in the film. We had a long discussion about this in the Directors Cup thread on “Sweet Movie”. There might be some insight buried in there somewhere.
I watched this movie and loved every minute. Maybe because of the subversive humor, I found even the grossest parts tolerable; as opposed to “Salo” which, while I think it’s great, is hard to watch. “Sweet Movie” would be a good film to help convert a friend to bizarre cinema.
I don’t think “Sweet Movie” is a film that’s going to convert too many people!
but probably perver or maybe even subvertt!! … lolololol