- Jay Cocks, 1975
Sweet Movie [is] in effect the most concentrated work I know that follows out the idea that the way to assess the state of the world is to find out how it tastes (a sense modality not notably stressed by orthodox epistemologists but rather consigned to a corner of aesthetics) – which means both to find out how it tastes to you and how it tastes you, for example, to find out whether you and the world are disgusting to one another […]
The film attempts to extract hope – to claim to divine life after birth – from the very fact that we are capable of genuine disgust at the world; that our revoltedness is the chance for a cleansing revulsion; that we may purge ourselves by living rather than by killing, willing to visit hell if that is the direction to something beyond purgatory; that the fight for freedom continues to originate in the demands of our instincts, the chaotic cry of our nature, our cry to have a nature. It is a work powerful enough to encourage us to see again that the tyrant’s power continues to require our complicitous tyranny over ourselves.
Umm, hmmm how to do this one? Well let's start with the plot. There are two different stories being told in this movie:
Story #2 A woman named Anna, (Anna Prucnal) who also happens to be a radical, is steering a large boat filled with candy down a river. A wandering sailor (Pierre Clementi) comes aboard and they become lovers. There is a large hanging platform full of sugar that becomes a bed, a mouse, some murdering, a very naughty dance in front of school boys, some yummy looking candy, and maybe a serial killer.
These stories take place simultaneously and are interspersed with some very disturbing scenes involving autopsies, experiments involving babies, and mass graves which are all taken from footage of real incidents.
I watched this movie last March and I didn't write about it then because I wasn't sure if I could. I didn't understand what the movie was trying to say although it was obvious that the director was trying to say something. I didn't even know if I had enjoyed it. I knew that I had enjoyed the performances, especially Carole Laure. I liked the photography, the music, and I think I laughed where I was supposed to laugh. And I was definitely shocked at the shocking bits and there are plenty of them. But this damn movie has been in my head for the last year and I can't get it out!
Lorraine Mortimer has written a book about the director, Dusan Makavejev, and you can find an excerpt from the book which discusses this movie far better than I could ever hope to at this site. The quotes at the top are from that site as well.
Should you watch this movie? Yes, if you don't mind seeing some very disturbing imagery and if you don't mind having your brain challenged, I say definitely watch the movie. If you're looking for a popcorn, mindless entertainment, fun way to spend a few hours then skip this one.