Sweet Movie (1974) is a Canadian art film, made by Yugoslav director Dusan
Makavejev after his escape from Yugoslavia, and filmed in Montreal, the city of Quebec, Belgium, Paris,
Amsterdam, and Poland (news footage). Over the years this film has been
notoriously difficult to find. In fact, it is still banned in the UK to this day
because of scenes involving the seduction of minors.
This is not a film you enjoy as much as one you appreciate, the sort of film
that the turtle neck crowd holds up as everything good about cinema, but which "everyman"
often regrets spending his money on. It is complex, highly episodic and tough
going for anyone not intimately familiar with Eastern European history. I won't pretend
that I understood every reference, but the digs at US capitalism were pretty
It is essentially two intercut stories, but I can explain better by separating them.
In the secondary thread, a woman (Anna Prucnal) helms a boat through the canals
of Amsterdam with a bust of Marx on the bow. A sailor on a bicycle
from the battleship Potemkin pursues her, as he wants to be her next lover. She
is "revolution" and warns him that her lovers always die. While that is playing
out, controversy occurs when she seduces several young children. Makevejev intercuts German footage of the uncovering of
Polish victims of the Russian massacre at Katyn Forest. He contrasts Prucnal's
victims with the dead Polish army.
In the primary plot line, a world beauty contest is held to find the most
beautiful virgin in the world, who will become the bride of a rich Texas oilman
(Dean Wormer!) who is obsessed with cleanliness. Miss Canada (Carole Laure) is the winner. The
couple gets married and helicopters to his home. He undresses, scrubs her with alcohol,
and then shows her his golden penis, whereupon she starts screaming
uncontrollably. Eventually, his overbearing mother sends her packing (literally
packed into a suitcase) where she has adventures with a macho Mexican singer at
the Eiffel Tower, but becomes increasingly withdrawn and mute, and ends up in
the Otto Muehl Troupe commune. It is this section which earned the film's
notoriety, as the troupe believes in a kind of therapy where we all get in touch
with our base selves, and have monthly events where they target a member, and
engage in overeating, public defecation and urination, debasement, etc. The film
ends with an amazing nude bath in chocolate by Carole Laure.