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The intercut story of two women: a nearly-mute beauty queen who descends into withdrawal and madness, and another who captains a ship laden with candy and sugar, luring men and boys aboard for sex, death, and revolutionary talk. The beauty queen passes from a wealthy husband whose honeymoon delight is to urinate on her, to a muscular keeper who punches her, stows her in a suitcase, and ships her to Paris, to a lip-synching rock idol with whom she has a love spasm, to an Austrian commune complete with a banquet of vomit, urine, feces, chopped dildos, and wet nurses. By then she's in a fetal position, until everyone's rescued by reminders that "it's just a movie." Written by
It doesn't happen very often that you encounter a movie that totally & utterly perplexes you, but Dusan Makavejev's "Sweet Movie" definitely is such a rare experience! The box of the VHS I watched describes the film as "a erotic comedy with a tongue-in-cheek attitude towards the psychiatric world". Well yeah, maybe. But still I wouldn't really recommend it to fans of ordinary comedies, or to admirers of erotic cinema and I can't even begin to imagine what eminent people in psychiatry would make of it! I'd say that "Sweet Movie" is exclusively meant for cult cinema hunters with a passion for art-house atmospheres, experimental story ideas and extremely eccentric characters. This is a unique and thoroughly bizarre film, yes, but I wouldn't go too far in calling it "shocking", "sick" or "repulsive", as that might frighten people unnecessarily! Undoubtedly Makavejev's script contains a truckload of offensive elements and unsubtle social statements, but the wholesome remains stylish and inexplicably funny at all times. There's two main story lines, but unlike I expected, they do not merge together in the end. The first story revolves on a young introvert beauty and her introduction to the dangerous world of sexual perverts. Being the winner of a virgin-beauty contest, young Miss Canada is married off to a sardonic industrialist with um peculiar body parts (truly fabulous appearance by cult icon John Vernon!). Following a series of events that are too insane to mention, the poor girl ends up among an assembly of "artists" that work with their own faeces and vomit. People that are familiar with the work of Otto Mühl know exactly what to expect of this and, yes, it's all shown in detail... The other story is believe it or not even more deranged than the first and follows a strange lady as she navigates her flamboyant ship down the Seine. She has sex on deck, seduces young schoolboys and brutally kills people atop a large pile of sugar! Sweet, indeed!
How do you begin review a movie like "Sweet Movie"? As mentioned before, you have to be very careful who to recommend it to. Makavejev's filming style and world perspectives are perhaps similar to the oeuvres of acclaimed directors John Waters ("Pink Flamingos") and Alejandro Jodorowsky ("El Topo"), but his motivations and political convictions clearly differ. Also, some people will think the controversy in "Sweet Movie" is artsy, whereas others will label it as pure and meaningless trash! Fact remains that this movie is unique and courageous, especially considering its period of release and land(s) of origin. The first story (with Carol Laure) loses a bit of its impact near the end and I didn't really like the climax, but the other story (starring the Polish Anna Prucnal) only gets more depraved with each twist and eventually reaches a stunning denouement. The sex sequences couldn't be more explicit and, somehow, Makavejev is the ONLY director capable of being tasteless and stylish at the same time! The use of music is brilliant and the decors as well as the set pieces are downright breathtaking. It may not be for all tastes, but if you're searching for an exceptional cinematic experience, there's NOTHING that even remotely matches this sweet, sweet, sweet "SWEET MOVIE"
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