Search - WR: Mysteries of the Organism (Criterion Collection) on DVD

WR: Mysteries of the Organism (Criterion Collection)
WR Mysteries of the Organism
Criterion Collection
Actors: Milena Dravic, Ivica Vidovic, Jagoda Kaloper, Tuli Kupferberg, Zoran Radmilovic
Director: Dusan Makavejev
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
UR     2007     1hr 24min

What does the energy harnessed through orgasm have to do with the state of Communist Yugoslavia circa 1971? Only counterculture filmmaker extraordinaire Duan Makavejev has the answers (or the questions). His surreal docume...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Milena Dravic, Ivica Vidovic, Jagoda Kaloper, Tuli Kupferberg, Zoran Radmilovic
Director: Dusan Makavejev
Creators: Aleksandar Petkovic, Predrag Popovic, Dusan Makavejev, Ivanka Vukasovic, Svetozar Udovicki
Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Comedy, Drama, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Criterion Collection
Format: DVD - Color - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 06/19/2007
Original Release Date: 10/13/1971
Theatrical Release Date: 10/13/1971
Release Year: 2007
Run Time: 1hr 24min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 20
Edition: Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English, German, Russian, Serbo-Croatian
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

Bulat Okudzhava
EriKa | Iceland | 01/31/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Reykjavik, Iceland Film Festival, September, 2000. I was not sure what to expect from this. I am a longtime fan and student of all things Yugoslavian. I had seen Makavejev's comparatively commercial film A Night of Love prior to screening two of his more obscure films, Sweet Movie, which is nothing less than visually frightening and decidedly disturbing, and this, Mysteries of an Organism. With more disturbing visual imagery and borrowings from surreal fantasy, the second half of the film is more like a "film" in that it tells a story of a Yugoslav woman, who, like all women portrayed in the film, is very sexually liberated, and claims that this is so because all women have been justly liberated by the revolution and socialism in Yugoslavia. When she meets a visiting Russian figure skater, she realizes that the Soviet ideals of socialism are limiting and lead only to repression of the self. She tries to teach him that love and socialism are not at odds with each other, but are indeed intertwined. When they finally make love, he ends up killing her because his passions and love have been so repressed. The first half of the film, which is a bit excessive and strange, is more documentary in style, but it does illustrate the points that are made more eloquently in the second half of the film by probing the life of a man (whose name i cannot recall) who was demonised by the US government. The screening in Reykjavik was luckily accompanied by the director himself explaining his ideas and what he hoped to accomplish. This is a fascinating film, a total departure from American, or really, any other films of any genre or nationality."
Of course it's a distortion
BrautiganLives! | 01/09/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"It's the heart-breaking narrative of Reich's persecution interwoven with moments that highlight the absurdity of sex that make this work so powerful. I saw it first in 1980 in the UK and that screening still reverberates.

Nothing against Mr. DeMeo, who's posted a comment complaining that the film is not historically accurate. I used to subscribe to DeMeo's mailing list and found him a bit humorless. I think the whole *point* of this is that it's a work of art, not a documentarian's take on Reich's work.

Say what you will about Makaveyev's work as a whole, this one is a winner."
Organism or orgasm?
T. Renbarger | USA | 07/21/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)

"I saw "WR: Mystery of the Organism " in my youth, say age 20, at a film festival one evening almost 30 years ago. I do remember it having a strange effect on me and having stirred my original interest, delving into the work of (WR), Dr. Wilhelm Reich, the alleged mad scientist who died in prison for what he believed in. I have read maybe 12 to 15 different books on the subject of "Orgone Energy" and the good doctor over time. Some of WR's own works, which are psycho-sociological and way scientific at times, are a little hard to grasp. Mostly I've read the hip psuedo-scientific biographies and post-WR studies of which there were once several books available. Some were especially written by the followers and practitioners of his life energy and psycho-sexual liberation work. Though I remember the movie using just the more titillating portions of his theories as part of a spoof and sexual comedy, I still felt like there was a sense of truth and amazement implied in the use of them in the story. (Unlike the "Orgasmatron scene", a take off and exaggeration of his orgone accumulators, in Woody Allen's futuristic farce "Sleeper".)I think there may be a documentary about the making of the movie "WR": out there as well? I am suprised it or a revised production about Dr. Reich has not showed up on PBS or the Discovery Channel by now. Anyway, I was glad to find that the VHS tape of the movie is available and am looking forward to seeing it again."
We Have Just Started
Daitokuji31 | Black Glass | 02/18/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Director: Dusan Makavejev
Duration: 85 minutes

When Yugoslavian director Dusan Makarejev's film WR: Mysteries of the Orgasm debuted back in 1971 it received both critical acclaim and scorn. Extraordinarily popular in France, it won top honors at Cannes, and in New York, it was outright banned in Makarejev's homeland as well as the Soviet Union as a film that was anti-Communist and anti-Soviet. Yet, it is also called anti-America and a heaping slag of defamation of the psychologist Wilhelm Reich, who early in his career had been Sigmund Freud's assistant and later, at the end of his life, imprisoned by the American government for some of his medical procedures. So what is this film? Is it anti-American, anti-soviet, anti-morals, anti-cinema? Yes, it can be all these things, or it can be viewed as a filmic voyage to embrace the id without society's, be it the Soviet Union or America, moralistic encodings strapping one down to act a certain way.

The film is supposedly a "documentary" of Wilhelm Reich and of how his experiments not only ended up with him in prison, but his works ordered destroyed by the American government. However, the film turns into a series of vignettes primarily revolving around a Yugoslavian woman named Milena and her younger, dark-haired nymphomaniac friend Jagoda who "liberates" herself constantly through sexual intercourse with handsome soldiers. Milena is a bit more restrained than Jagoda, but when the Soviet ice skater Vladimir Ilych makes his appearance; her own desires come to the fore to be blocked by Ilych's communist rhetoric.

I am not quite sure what to make of this film as a whole, but I must say that it is definitely an interesting experience. Also, the appearances of various artists and editors such as Betty Dodson and Jim Buckley, both of whom were involved with sexual works in the underground, make for a remarkably coherent, thought provoking mess of a film."