Sweet Movie (1974)

Director: Dušan Makavejev
Starring:Carole Laure, John Vernon, Anna Prucnal, Pierre Clémenti, Jane Mallett, Roy Callender, Sami Frey. France, Germany, Russia. 1h 38m

The film is like a psychedelic socio political nightmare orgy, with some kind of comedy added to cushion the blow.

Following the lives of two women, Miss Mode 1984 and Anna Planeta, both are figureheads for different movements, Miss Mode (Laure) represents modern commodity culture, while on the other hand Anna (Prucnal) is the spearhead of the failed communist revolutionary. The film opens with a glitzy show, where women around the world are aiming to win the Most Virgin competition, the winner is Miss Canada with her golden shiny vagina. Her prize is to marry Mr. Kapital, a milk industry tycoon played by the daring and often enigmatic John Vernon, losing her virginity doesn’t go to plan, despite a golden dick, she soon bribes a servant to smuggle out of the Milk Tycoons mansion after his mother tries to drown her. Miss Mode goes on to join a cult, she gets seduced by a glittery Latin singer called El Macho (Frey).

In the meantime Anna sails around the Netherlands in a candy filled boat with the head of Karl Marx at its helm. She spends her time seducing the children of the world with candy and dreams of revolution, eventually she picks up a sailor called Potemkin (Clémenti), she warns him that he if falls in love with her, she’ll be forced to kill him, he accepts the terms and eagerly jumps on board.

“Yes, thinking can sometimes be a very dangerous exercise.”

Each of the man characters seems to have a unique essence, like tiny world’s colliding, but whenever people meet in this hectic movie something terrible seems to happen and it’s all surrounded by sugar, at first the film seems like some mockery of media culture, a degrading act played out to a trashy tv show soon  develops into one of the most challenging, shocking and provocative films of recent years.

People are often writhing around in vats of chocolate, being stabbed to death in sugar, the blood looks like strawberry sauce, people are eating sugar, vomiting in sugar, the whole cycle of life is carried out some sweet sickly substance. It feels like a Jodorowsky test run, not quite finished but with clearer ideas of a sub context, its obviously about politics, cultural pressures and expectations but does it try to conjure answers to any of these problems or it is just illustrating them in a basic fashion for the viewer to decipher, maybe in a new way.

For most audiences it seems as if the film is merely some kind of soft core adventure, there’s a lot of sex and sexuality on screen, but Yugoslav filmmaker Dusan Makavejev’s objective is more courageous than provocative. This trippy ride can be enjoyed at face value, just as something energetic and tantalizing or it can be read much deeper.

Either which way the film is perceived it certainly stays with you, despite not having aged well, it still has a lasting effect on the eyes and soul!

Rating 6 /10

R: The Angels Melancholia (2009), Man is not a Bird (1965), Castle of Purity (1973),

L: Psychedelic Europe 1970’s Vol.1

A: Surreal for Surreal Sake

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2 thoughts on “Sweet Movie (1974)”

  1. I bought the Criterion release of this and found it provocative, not entirely successful, and a worthy addition to the experimental category of film – great review!

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