Review: Sweet Movie (1974)

Review: Sweet Movie (1974)

Possibly the weirdest film by Yugoslav director Dušan Makavejev, banned in all but 3 countries, tells the inter cut story of two women and their progression through sex, power and absolute madness.

Review: Sweet Movie (1974)

They definitely don’t make films like this any more! Sweet Movie (1974) is a film by Dusan Makavejev, a Yugoslavian film-maker who enjoys following themes of post-Freudian principles with cinematic intenseness.

The narrative follows the inter cut stories of two very different women; a revolutionary paedophile killer and a timid beauty queen who develops an insatiable madness for chocolate. The former lures men and children on board her boat in Amsterdam – a floating sugar and candy store with murderous intent and talks of revolution and socialism. The latter enters and wins a beauty contest organized by the insane mother of a wealthy milk-industry baron; a contest to find the most virgin ‘Miss Monde 1984’ by inspecting their genitalia in a pageant-style award show. A juxtaposition between the two women’s difference in position of power towards their male antagonists is clearly made.

On one hand, the beauty queen – an almost mute character – wins a marriage to the wealthy American millionaire, only to reach their honeymoon where she suffers being urinated on by his gold-plated member. On seeing her disgust, she is passed off as crazy and zipped up inside a suitcase to be sent to Paris. She falls for a lip-syncing pop star she meets under the Eiffel Tower which results in a bizarre semi-public sex act until the star’s member becomes stuck inside her. Her experience leads her to an Austrian anarcho-commune which celebrates through urine, vomit, faecal matter, further unusual sex acts and ends with a scene of graphic masturbation in a tub of chocolate for a television commercial.

The second character Miss Anna Planeta sails the canals of Amsterdam in her floating candy shop and tempting young boys and men with sugary treats. She takes advantage of her visitors sexually, molesting children (around 5-8 years of age) which climaxes to their murders. Due to this role, the actress Anna Prucnal was banned from returning to her home country of Poland for a duration of seven years – she was denied a visa to return for the death of her mother.

What makes this film unique is the attention to intenseness and discomfort aimed at any audience. The film features imagery and action to disgust, repel and turn heads in shame. The shear bombardment of spectacle makes the narrative even more thrilling, while the storyline is continuously juxtaposed with what appears to be stock footage from the Nazi atrocities of the second world war.

The jump-cuts and sporadic topics of storyline, the descent into madness and contradiction of humour within the film is purposeful – assuring us that at the bottom line – this is just a film – and perhaps where an element of brilliance lies. The film not only gives an insight into the position of women through exploitation and power, but also uses intense imagery to make this juxtaposition both comical and insane. The further hidden message of this film is its conception; a satirical reaction to an era where motion-pictures were becoming heavily controlled by overzealous censorship. No matter how you judge this film, it is just a film – and shouldn’t be taken as anything but.

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