Sweet Movie poster
|Directed by||Dušan Makavejev|
|Written by||Dušan Makavejev|
|Music by||Manos Hadjidakis|
|Edited by||Yann Dedet|
|Release dates||May 1974 (Cannes Film Festival)|
|Running time||98 min|
Sweet Movie is a 1974 avant-garde art house comedy-drama film by the Yugoslavian director Dušan Makavejev. The film follows two women: a Canadian beauty queen, who represents a modern commodity culture, and a captain aboard a ship laden with candy and sugar, who is a failed communist revolutionary. Director of photography is Pierre Lhomme. The film's music is composed by Greek composer Manos Hadjidakis.
One narrative follows Miss Monde 1984/Miss Canada (Carole Laure), who wins a contest of the "most virgin"; her prize is the marriage to a milk industry tycoon (John Vernon). However, following his degrading puritanical introduction to intercourse, she vents her intention to leave to her mother-in-law who, at that point, nearly has her killed. The family bodyguard (Roy Callender) takes her away, further humiliates her, and finally packs her in a trunk bound for Paris. She finds herself on the Eiffel Tower, where she absently meets and has intercourse with a Latin singer, El Macho (Sami Frey). The sexual act is interrupted by touring nuns who frighten the lovers into penis captivus. In her post-coital shocked state, she is adopted into an artist community led by Otto Muehl, where she finds affectionate care. The commune practices some liberating sessions, where a member, with the assistance of the others, goes through a (re)birth experience, cries, urinates and defecates like a baby, while the others are cleaning and pampering him. Later she is seen acting for an obscene advertisement, in which she is naked, covered in liquid chocolate.
The second narrative involves a woman, Anna Planeta (Anna Prucnal) piloting a candy-filled boat in the canals of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with a large papier-mache head of Karl Marx on the prow. She picks up the hitchhiking sailor Potemkin (Pierre Clémenti), though she warns him that if he falls in love, she will kill him. He ignores her many suggestions for him to leave and their relationship evolves. Eventually, in the state of love making, she stabs him to death in their nidus of sugar. She also seduces children into her world of sweets and revolution. She is eventually apprehended and arrested by the police who lay down plastic sacks containing the children's bodies on the side of the canal, implying they too have been killed by Planeta. The film ends with the children, unseen by the others, being reborn from their plastic cocoons.
The film was originally intended to focus solely on the experiences of Miss Canada. However, the actress portraying the character, Carole Laure, left the production after becoming increasingly disgusted over the actions required for her performance; she decided to quit after shooting a scene in which she fondled a man's penis on-screen. After Laure's departure, Makavejev re-wrote the script to include the second narrative, starring Anna Prucnal.
The film created a storm of controversy upon its release, with simulated (and unsimulated) scenes of coprophilia, emetophilia, fondling, and footage of remains of the Polish Katyn Massacre victims. The film was banned in many countries, or severely cut; it is still banned in many countries to this day. Polish authorities banned Prucnal from using her passport over the movie, which effectively banned her from entering her native country for a number of years. The film was nearly impossible to find since its initial release in 1974, but Criterion released the film on DVD in a region 1 DVD on June 19, 2007.
The film is a classic montage form, as seen in other of Makavejev's films, which intermixes his themes of the degradation of pure communism, the injection of Western values into it, and the effects of sexual repression on the personal, economic, and political lives of all people (as well as the current brand of communism's sexual repression, too). Miss Monde is the virginal sacrifice of what should be natural sexuality to a captain of industry, the embodiment of sexual repression and mis-use. Upon Laure's departure from the film, a segue was invented to carry Miss Monde rapidly into the Anna Planeta character as a liberated sexual force, sailing on to cure the world of its sexual repressions. Ironically, the scenes of scream therapy, infant regression, and Planeta's murderous proclivities undercut her role as a liberator. Instead, she kills the sweetness of love (in the sugar bed) and the sexual innocence of children (even though the children are resurrected magically by an unknown factor). The elements of anarchy (sexual, political, and economic) as a creative and as a destructive force are intermixed and remain unresolved.
- Sweet Movie at the Internet Movie Database
- Sweet Movie at AllMovie
- The Criterion Collection
- Commentary by Lorraine Mortimer
- Criterion Collection Essay by David Sterritt