Dusan Makavejev

Dusan Makavejev

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Gorilla Bathes At Noon Review


Weak
In one of Dusan Makavejev's most recent works, the ravings of a man slowly slipping off his rocker are laid out bare. I don't know if I buy its moniker of "post-Communist kitsch," but it will be up to you to decide the merit of Makavejev's Gorilla Bathes at Noon on your own.

Gorilla Bathes at Noon is a very simple story (especially considering Makavejev's earlier films) about a Russian soldier named Victor (Svetozar Cvetkovic), caught in East Berlin as the wall is coming down. The clownish oaf wanders through the aftermath of communism, still adhering to his hero, Lenin. He even climbs the giant statue erected in his honor to scrub the paint from his head (see picture below). And he imagines(?) his girlfriend (Anita Mancic) in Lenin's image, complete with beard and moustache. (Of special note is Éva Ras, who appears as the girl's mother, previously was murdered by Makavejev in his film Love Affair, some 26 years earlier.)

Continue reading: Gorilla Bathes At Noon Review

Love Affair: Or, The Case Of The Missing Switchboard Operator Review


Very Good
Darkly comic yet not entirely sensical, Dusan Makavejev's Love Affair is a Woody Allen-style "romance," complete with an accidental murder, Ph.D.'s droning on about sexuality, an autopsy, and a poem about rats.

In this, Makavejev's second major film, the Yugoslavian's wry sensibilities about love and communism our laid out with little fanfare or apology. In one telling scene, star Éva Ras (as the titular switchboard operator) woos a man into her bedroom by flipping on some Communist propaganda on her TV as a kind of foreplay. But maybe it is appropriate after all: Her beloved is a rat catcher by profession.

Continue reading: Love Affair: Or, The Case Of The Missing Switchboard Operator Review

Man Is Not A Bird Review


Good
The first feature by Serbian director Dusan Makavejev, Man Is Not a Birdis a capable satire of the Eastern European work-politic combined with a rather ribald sex comedy.

The plot centers around an engineer named Jan (Janez Vrhovec), who travels to eastern Serbia to help out in a copper factory. When he arrives, he rents a room from the parents of the local, bombshell hairdresser Raika (Milena Dravic), only to wind up in her arms as well. One night, while Jan is accepting an award for his stellar work ethic, Raika hooks up with a smarmy truck driver, angering Jan, her parents, and just about everyone.

Continue reading: Man Is Not A Bird Review

WR: Mysteries Of The Organism Review


Very Good
Those familiar with Dusan Makavejev's work will not likely wonder why WR: Mysteries of the Organism features an opening shot of a trio of people playing with a yellow egg yolk, but rather will wonder why they aren't naked.

Makavejev's defining work is one of eerily appropriate juxtapositions, fact and fiction, old footage and new. Ostensibly a documentary about psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich (the WR of the title), the film begins with a roughly half-hour discussion of Reich's theories. As Freud's first assistant, Reich was fascinated with sex and sexual politics, and he pioneered theories regarding the "orgone," a kind of cosmic energy with healing and sexually-charging powers. Reich's family, friends, and acquaintances are interviewed, with his far-out theories and therapies displayed for the viewer, as well as a chronicling of his rapid fall from grace, which culminated in the destruction of his work by the FDA in a late 1950s book-burning.

Continue reading: WR: Mysteries Of The Organism Review

Sweet Movie Review


Weak
In 1974, Dusan Makevejev apparently went insane.

The film he directed that year, Sweet Movie, stands as one of the most bizarre examples of what a moderately successful nut job can do with a camera and a budget -- a poorly received cautionary tale to filmmakers who get too full of themselves. (Indeed, Makevejev obviously got some flak for this one -- the film was banned in at least a few countries, and the man would not make another movie for seven years.)

Continue reading: Sweet Movie Review

Innocence Unprotected Review


Very Good
World cinema knows few greater oddities than Dusan Makavejev's Innocence Unprotected, a strange documentary about the first talkie made in Serbia -- intercut with the entire film itself.

In 1942, during Hitler's occupation of Yugoslavia, "strongman" Dragoljub Aleksic (pictured below) was featured in a film that put his physical prowess on display in a romantic thriller (think Jean-Claude Van Damme today). The simple story told one of Aleksic rescuing a girl from a bully of a suitor and evil stepmother, all thanks to his ability to balance on tightropes, hang from airplanes with his mouth, and bite through steel chains with his teeth (which it turns out he really can do).

Continue reading: Innocence Unprotected Review

Montenegro Review


Very Good
Dusan Makavejev's Montenegro is one of his most twisted works, as well as one of the most engaging. Susan Anspach stars as a housewife -- who, as soon becomes apparent, is obviously insane. She cooks the family a meal... then eats it herself. She puts poison in the dog's food bowl... then tells the dog it's up to him whether or not he eats it. Soon enough, she finds herself on a visit with a group of equally strange Yugoslavians, and she spends a few days soaking up the atmosphere in a seedy strip club. Eventually, she returns home, obviously no better off than when she left. (Allegedly this is based on a true story, but I just don't buy it...) The beginning of the movie is extremely engrossing, but just when you think Susan's journey is going to amount to something, Makavejev resorts to his old shock-value tricks -- in this case, lots of male nudity and a dildo mounted to a remote-controlled toy tank which chases a girl around the strip club stage for five minutes. Tell us a real story, Dusan, instead of giving us some hokey nonsense.
Dusan Makavejev

Dusan Makavejev Quick Links

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Dusan Makavejev Movies

Gorilla Bathes at Noon Movie Review

Gorilla Bathes at Noon Movie Review

In one of Dusan Makavejev's most recent works, the ravings of a man slowly slipping...

Love Affair: Or, the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator Movie Review

Love Affair: Or, the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator Movie Review

Darkly comic yet not entirely sensical, Dusan Makavejev's Love Affair is a Woody Allen-style "romance,"...

Man Is Not a Bird Movie Review

Man Is Not a Bird Movie Review

The first feature by Serbian director Dusan Makavejev, Man Is Not a Birdis a capable...

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WR: Mysteries of the Organism Movie Review

WR: Mysteries of the Organism Movie Review

Those familiar with Dusan Makavejev's work will not likely wonder why WR: Mysteries of the...

Sweet Movie Movie Review

Sweet Movie Movie Review

In 1974, Dusan Makevejev apparently went insane.The film he directed that year, Sweet Movie, stands...

Innocence Unprotected Movie Review

Innocence Unprotected Movie Review

World cinema knows few greater oddities than Dusan Makavejev's Innocence Unprotected, a strange documentary about...

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