Sweet Movie

Dir: Dusan Makavejev, 1974


Films like this make me angry. Not because of the content or the theme, it’s the pretentiousness of the people who made it and the poncey people who spout platitudes under the misguided notion that it makes them “intellectual”.

After his critically acclaimed W.R: Mysteries of the Organism, Makavejev polarised critics with this…this…thing that still has the same effect today.

A bizarre, odd ragbag of scenarios that make little sense and, apparently, form a coherent storyline.

What that storyline is remains to be deciphered (at least by me, anyway).

I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. Is it a middle class thing?

The film runs two stories; one, about a Canadian beauty queen and the other, this foreign bird who travels around on a bloody great boat, adorned with the head of Karl Marx

Both stories represent an element of society.

To show this, Makavejev packs the screen with vulgarity, coarseness and crudity that add nothing to the film except a feeling of bewilderment.

People shitting, vomiting and pissing everywhere does not make an analogy of a subject.

What is very troubling for the censors of today, is not the coprophilia or emetophilia but sexualisation of children.

Anna Prucnal is seen acting suggestively to a crowd of young boys, undoing the trousers of one but stopping before she actually touches anything and, then, gyrates her vulva in front of his face.

Whether this is child pornography is open to debate. No physical contact is actually made but the behaviour…

I understand that the scene is meant to represent children being sexualized at an early age, but could that effect not have been achieved through clever editing?

Don’t get me wrong, I abhor censorship unless it’s genuine abuse; ie children. But, I do believe in protecting our young ones and feel that there are some things that they shouldn’t be exposed to, and a woman writhing her vagina inches away from a child’s face is one of them.

Makavejev created his most extreme film with Sweet Movie and is one that still generates hot talk today. Maybe that was the point, to provoke talks. If it is, then he’s succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

It’s obvious from watching the film, that the director views the proceedings as a kind of comedy.

In a faux scene of cannibalism, a diner removes an overlarge flaccid and unrealistic penis from his trousers and hacks it into pieces where everybody begins to eat it.

The scene is played out in an horrific style with people making themselves puke and micturating over the table.

However, the events are so asinine in their depiction that it’s rendered farcical.

Where WR pushed the acceptability of film in Britain, it was passed uncut, complete with erections and unsimulated sex.

But Sweet Movie was an entirely different kettle of fish. The board had difficulty seeing how the film, possibly, be accommodated in UK cinemas and, subsequently, rejected the film for a certificate.

Despite several conversations over the years about a possible release, nothing has ever come to fruition with the BBFC advising that they may not be able to pass it.

It has never been resubmitted to the board since its initial submission in 1974 and, as a result, still remains banned to this day.

Ultimately, Sweet Movie is a senseless and futile descent into the bowels of art that adds nothing to cinema and is merely an outlet for Makavejev’s putrid fantasies of a perverse and unsound mind.


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