Thursday, February 19, 2009

W.R. - Misterije organizma (1971)

W.R. - Mysteries of the Organism (Serbo-Croatian: W.R. - Misterije organizma, W.R. - Мистерије организма) is a 1971 film by Yugoslavian director Dušan Makavejev that explores the relationship between communist politics and sexuality, as well as exploring the life and work of Wilhelm Reich. The film intercuts documentary footage with, predominantly, a narrative about a Yugoslav woman who seduces a Russian ice skater. Despite different settings, characters and time periods, the different elements produce a single story of human sexuality and revolution through a montage effect.

The main elements juxtaposed throughout the film are: Milena is a metaphor for the Yugoslavian working class's struggle for liberation against the totalising influence of Russian communist state. Milena is killed when her sexual encounter with Vladimir Illych (the representative of Russian communism) goes awry. (To make the parallel more obvious, the Russian artist is a full namesake of Lenin (Lenin's proper Russian name was Vladimir Illych). Also, during his speech on the abandoned ship's deck, he assumed a position typical of how Lenin was depicted in numerous statues of him.) He, unable to fully experience his orgasmic urge, beheads her with his ice skate which is the film's metaphor for revolutionary theory. Makavejev dooms self-determination of the Yugslavian people, and the struggle of people worldwide for true freedom, to the fate of being totalised by Russian state communism, and the quest for sexual freedom to be overshadowed by "red fascists".

The song that Vladimir sings in Russian after Milena's murder at the end of the movie is called "François Villon's Prayer" by Bulat Okudzhava. The film has been banned in communist Yugoslavia for about 18 years.

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