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
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
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
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
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
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
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