Song by Manos Hadjidakis (about tragic destiny of humankind) performed with a voice of motherly suffering

Chorus of children singing a song by Manos Hadjidakis

“Sweet Movie” is about two irreconcilable social strata our specie is fatally polarized on (paralyzed) – rich and poor (strong and weak, leaders and followers, deciders and the docile or the rebellious), about their psychology, so different and so unbreakably linked, and about their respective madness as a result of their permanent struggle and the impossibility of their unification. In other words, “Sweet Movie” is a film about the tragic impossibility of a real democracy in a too proud age of formal democracy.

Makavejev analyzes two types of violence (that of the rich and that of the poor), coming as a consequence of the impossibility of a reconciliation between those on top and those on the bottom of the social hierarchy. According to the film, the violence of the wealthy (sovereigns) against the poor (the dependent ones) – triggers violence of the poor that sometimes surpasses that of the wealthy in its intensity and meaninglessness.

By depicting the destiny of two protagonists, one with a conformist position towards the rich (Miss World, dreaming to exchange her virginity for marriage with a billionaire), and the other with a revolutionary position and sweet dream about a militant liberation of humankind (Anna Planeta, moving about Europe on a ship with a giant smiling and crying figurehead of Karl Marx), Makavejev rejects the both attempts to solve the problem of inequality and injustice as sentimental and inadequate.

While Miss World personifies the common superstitious idea that the poor can find life on the outskirts of wealth (in a condition that they will be persistent: hard working, in their efforts to get closer to its center), Anna Planeta personifies the two historical trends of rebellious resistance – the Soviet “socialist” (under the banner of Communism) and Western mass culture with its consumerism, freedom of sailing sales, pseudo-prosperity, sexual liberation and entertainment (as a “pragmatic” mini-Communism “equalizing” rich and poor in the utopia of general porous-prosperity).

Makavejev’s directorial style in “Sweet Movie” is unique by a semantic distance between the intentional “juiciness” of his visual images and their meaning. Makavejev is a shock therapist of viewers’ blunted perception of the reality as a way to awaken their cognition. His aesthetic canon can be defined as anti-propaganda aesthetics, as a masterful undoing of what ideological propaganda, be it “socialist” or pseudo-democratic has done to human thinking.

The film examines why attempts to create real democracy are failing again, in front of our very eyes. In 21st century when the wealthiest 1% (with their intellectual servants and conservative propagandists) advance under the banner of pauperization programs for the 99% through austerity measures, the cultural and aesthetic radicalness of Makavejev’s thinking and style can be appreciated much more today than it was in a more democratic years when the film was released.

Makavejev masterfully combines fiction narratives and documentaries, mock documentaries and semantically stylized images to create a multi-narration about the human existential and political predicaments in today’s world.

Makavejev with a poster of his film
Makavejev with a poster of his film

Dusan Makavejev, (1993-)
Dusan Makavejev, (1932-)

Posted on July 28, 2012 –   Dušan Makavejev’s “Sweet Movie” (1974) ) – Two Corrupted Revolutions – “Socialist” and Mass-cultural, and Their Repercussions  by Acting-Out Politics

Posted 11/14/’17 – Sugar-taste, Sugar-dream, Sugar-dreaming, Sugar-excitement, Sugar-prosperity, Sugar-destructiveness – From Dušan Makavejev’s “Sweet Movie” (1974) by Acting-Out Politics