Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Capital Celluloid 2012 - Day 227: Wed Aug 15

W.R. — Mysteries of the Organism (Makaejev, 1971): BFI Southbank, NFT3, 8.45pm

Here is the BFI introduction to the event: This surrealist, experimental art-house classic by Dušan Makavejev cross-pollinates a variety of different filmmaking materials and techniques: actuality, narrative, found footage and re-enactment. Its groundbreaking qualities are not limited to stylistics, however. It also explores the links between sexual politics and Communism via the theories of controversial psychologist Wilhelm Reich (also discussed in Adam Curtis’s The Century of the Self) and the fictional seduction of a Soviet ice-skater. Through montage, Makavejev boldly suggests that an emancipation of sexuality is required on top of any changes in politics and economics, if there is to be true revolution. The film was banned in the director’s native country.

Introduced by Maria Cruz, film programmer and visiting lecturer at Kingston University

Chicago Reader review: '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

Here is an extract.

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