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Sweet Movie (Criterion Collection)
Sweet Movie
Criterion Collection
Actors: Carole Laure, Pierre Clémenti, Anna Prucnal, Sami Frey, Jane Mallett
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Horror
UR     2007     1hr 38min

Pushing his themes of sexual liberation to their boiling point, Yugoslavian art-house provocateur Dusan Makavejev followed his international sensation WR: Mysteries of the Organism with this full-throated shriek in the fac...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Carole Laure, Pierre Clémenti, Anna Prucnal, Sami Frey, Jane Mallett
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Horror
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Horror
Studio: Criterion Collection
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen
DVD Release Date: 06/19/2007
Original Release Date: 01/01/1974
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1974
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 38min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 17
Edition: Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, French, Polish, Spanish
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Right On! Government Sucks! Oh Wait, Poo?
Kasey Driscoll | 06/20/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Dusan Makavejev's 1974 film Sweet Movie is an indictment toward all forms of authority and convention. It does not obviously or even wittingly perhaps come from an honest political standard itself, but it instead exists to attack all that rules us. It skewers capitalism, communism, and absolutely everything in between. Perhaps it is a call specifically for some sort of Anarcho-Primitivism? Perhaps Sweet Movie is simply a celebration of life in its own sick and twisted way?

Sweet Movie follows two different stories and both feature a female protagonist. The first follows a contestant of the 1984 Miss Monde pageant. She wins and her prize is her marriage to some big corporate dude. She is shocked by how he degrades her in their first meeting and she runs away. Her rejection is met with displeasure by his cronies and she ends up getting pretty severely humiliated and then stuffed into a suitcase and shipped off to France. After that she gets stuck to some Latin guy and enters a commune and some pretty wacky things happen. This story operates as a criticism toward capitalism and consumerism at the beginning and the conclusion, while it seems to attack communism in the middle. The second story follows a young woman who is leading a boat down a river. The boat is full of candy and has a statue of Karl Marx on it. She seduces all who encounter her with sex, candy and propaganda. Then she kills them. Obviously it is a direct attack on communism.

There are some pretty shocking things in Sweet Movie but that shouldn't be a surprise when taking into account the time period and some of the subversive and surreal counterculture names involved in the film (e.g. Otto Muehl, Roland Topor and George Melly). The film captures a cultural movement in some respects and the significance is there but overall Sweet Movie was too obscure to have an impact. Only now does it resonate but for very different reasons. It stands out for its visual shock alone.

There is a very strong emphasis on bodily functions in Sweet Movie, more so than anything I've ever seen or even want to see again for that matter. I can't pinpoint why but it's more than likely Dusan Makavejev's attempt to compel us to revolt against all of our societal institutions by directly desensitizing us to his perspective that we are all just gassy and disgusting animals. Spend a few days resisting your normal cognitive functions or spend some time with dementia patients and you'll get a good smell of what Makavejev is trying to get at here...I think? I'm not sure I agree with him in those sorts of details, but in spirit I like where he is going with Sweet Movie. We all could use a good smack away from the restraints of everyday society.

Keep in mind; it is virtually impossible to get anything out of Sweet Movie if you take it too literally. It is designed to surprise the viewer and club them over the head with shock. The problem with that is Sweet Movie was so shocking for its time that it was hardly even seen. People were not ready then, but maybe the world has grown sicker since. Criterion may have picked a more accessible release date for Sweet Movie than Makavejev did. Asking ourselves the questions that this film might produce may be more important now than ever."
A Bitter Sweet
Solo Goodspeed | Granada Hills, CA United States | 06/30/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"There are movies that are devised from formulas developed to serve (and be served by) the Demographic ..... and then there are those rare films that create their own audience. Unfortunately, when Makavejev first unleashed his Sweet Movie in 1974, most interested parties of influence saw fit to have it banned, and the filmmaker himself was exiled (along with some cast members) from his native Yugoslavia for nearly 15 years.

Multi-mega kudos to Criterion for rescuing this now very alive and relevant explosion of a movie from near-obscurity. Beautifully restored, looking and sounding better than I remembered it, and including in this edition interviews and more in-depth facts about the making and history of this one-of-a-kind movie, watching it again restored in this viewer an appreciation of artists who put themselves way out on a line to give life to a vision, one that can become more relevant over time, despite overall condemnation at its initial release. As stated in the accompanying literature, there are countries where the movie is banned for any sort of distribution, to this day.

The dual story line, about two Women of Earth (Miss Monde 1984 and Captain Anna Planeta), is interwoven in a montage-like format that lashes out at Capitalism and Communism, spits in the eye of all manner of creative or sensual oppression, and does so in a take-no-prisoners satirical fantasy sense that helps lighten up the otherwise dark and intense subject matter. As Makavejev explains in an interview, had he tried to do any of it seriously, it would have hampered his film's acceptance all the more so, for it was fully his intent to make contact with his audience in an entertaining, circus-style (although somewhat abstract) manner. Anna Planeta commandeers a sort of ghost ship, Survival (sporting a huge carving of Karl Marx's noggin on front), through the canals of Amsterdam; she is a phantom, a political prostitute, and a reluctant predator, attracting victims with sex, candy and propaganda. She is joined by a nameless sailor who wears a cap from the Battleship Potemkin (another phantom?), and despite her warnings that her sweetened cargo is rife with corpses, he is swept up in the happy delirium of the Survival's relentless voyage to ...? Meanwhile, Miss Canada is inspected by a notable gynecologist on The Crazy Daisy Show, wins the title of Miss World 1984 along with an arranged marriage to a Texas milk tycoon who wants to buy Niagara Falls. The wedding night doesn't go so well, and next thing she knows she is knocked out, packed into a suitcase and shipped off to Paris ..... at which point things get weird on a Candide level. Much of the movie's final third, involving a near-explicit sex dance for young boys and some truly disturbing performance art (which was entirely improvised by Otto Muehl's Viennese Therapy Commune) involving eating, excreting, self-mutilating and acting like babies is certain to elicit squirms, and a private first viewing is highly recommended. Although, if you really wanted to mess with people at a party, play this film and follow it with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

As mentioned earlier, the included extras deepen the experience of the film, as well as introduce a welcome sense of normalcy after viewing. One outstanding addition is star Anna (Planeta) Prucal's interview about the effect the film had on her life (she was one of those who was exiled), and a stunning performance of a song from the film that will induce tears. Her blissfully unbound performance as Captain Anna carries Sweet Movie with a courage that is near unmatchable in cinema. No less courageous is the beautiful Carole Laure, whose surreal odyssey in the parallel reality we share in a nearly unspeaking performance, and whose undulations in a vat of chocolate syrup will linger long in the viewer's memory.

A hard film to recommend, but great for one of those Dare-Yourself-To-Sit-Through-It evenings, Sweet Movie's return down the canal is certain to open up a whole new generation of discussion with its resurrection into the digital archives. The title itself is its own expletive; but like any significant work, its "meaning" is wholly about the effect of its experience."
Bizarre, sickening and great
Galina | 11/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Definitely the most offensive art film ever produced, Dusan Makevejev's "Sweet Movie" is some sort of masterpiece; however, its onslaught of scatological and distasteful images is likely to repel viewers who might otherwise be responsive to its merits. Alternately headily intellectual and extraordinarily crude, beautiful and disgusting, this is a film that could have only been made in the early seventies, when foreign cinema was at its most outrageous and excessive following the relaxation in the sixties of standards as to what was appropriate to show on screen. Makevejev pushes this permissiveness to its limits, fashioning an extreme exercise in political polemic and sexual perversity that holds up two decades later as one of the period's strangest and most vital films; the end result comes off like an unholy collaboration between John Waters and Jean-Luc Godard. One of the rare handful of films (such as Pasolini's "Salo") that is simultaneously completely depraved and absolutely wonderful, and a must-see for adventurous aficionados of foreign cinema."
This will appeal mostly to curious lovers of bizarre art-hou
Jenny J.J.I. | That Lives in Carolinas | 03/04/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"While typing this I still can't believe what I just watched and thankfully enough I had a couple of wine glass's to relax my senses. This movie is like all over the place but its essentially two inter-cut stories, but I can explain better by separating them two. Weirdly enough I'll start with the second story with a woman (Anna Prucnal) who helms a boat through the canals of Amsterdam with a bust of Marx on the bow. A sailor on a bicycle from the battleship Potemkin pursues her, as he wants to be her next lover. She is "revolution" and warns him that her lovers always die. While that is playing out, controversy occurs when she seduces several young children. Makevejev intercuts German footage of the uncovering of Polish victims of the Russian massacre at Katyn Forest. He contrasts Prucnal's victims with the dead Polish army.

In the primary plot line, a world beauty contest is held to find the most beautiful virgin in the world, who will become the bride of a rich Texas oilman (Dean Wormer!) who is obsessed with cleanliness. Miss Canada (Carole Laure) is the winner. The couple gets married and helicopters to his home. He undresses, scrubs her with alcohol, and then shows her his golden swhwartz, whereupon she starts screaming uncontrollably. Eventually, his overbearing mother sends her packing (literally packed into a suitcase) where she has adventures with a macho Mexican singer at the Eiffel Tower, but becomes increasingly withdrawn and mute, and ends up in the Otto Muehl Troupe commune. It is this section which earned the film's notoriety, as the troupe believes in a kind of therapy where we all get in touch with our base selves, and have monthly events where they target a member, and engage in overeating, public defecation and urination, debasement, etc. The film ends with an amazing nude bath in chocolate.

Despite the constant sexuality and shock value, few scenes are actually erotic. Director Makavejev has more on his mind than just sex, however. He spends a good deal of time on political satire. Some, like the Texas oilman sequence, is heavy-handed and cartoonish (though his vision of 1984 America and its sexual double standards, with the funding of the Chastity Belt Foundation, quite presciently anticipates Reaganite America). More fierce is his criticism of the Soviet denial of the Katyn Forest massacre, boldly using Nazi footage of the exhumations, then frequently disparaged as mere propaganda but now known to be the truth, to accuse the Russians of genocidal war crimes. Besides that "Sweet Movie" is clearly not for kids (though they like sugar), or even most adults, this is a movie only for those who want to have there buttons pushed.