Dennis suggests WR: Mysteries of the Organism (in Foreign/The Criterion Collection). Man, I love the Criterion Collection. In addition to putting out sparkling clean, extra features-laden editions of the expected, and welcome, classics of world cinema, those knuckleknobs will occasionally toss us a knuckleball by giving that selfsame deluxe treatment to some truly surprising, fringe films, and their recent release of two films by (former) Yugoslavian director/loon Dusan Makevjev is just about the craziest thing they’ve done so far. (Although their inclusion of The Rock and Armageddon into their hallowed ranks remains a head-scratcher). While WR isn’t as bat-shit crazy as his Sweet Movie (also from Criterion!), its cazy-quilt collage of politics, sex, documentary, and sex sure ain’t Brief Encounter, either. Taking its title, and about half of its content, from its examination of the life and work of controversial (the US government arrested him and ordered all of his work burned!?!) psychologist Wilhelm Reich, WR interweaves, in a logic perhaps only known to Makevejev, interviews with Al Goldstein of Screw magazine, a political allegory about two female roommates and their affair with a Russian ice skater, a demonstration of the priapic art of one of the ‘Plaster Casters’, footage of a bearded guy in an orange jumpsuit running
around NYC with a toy rifle, conversation with Warhol superstar transvestite Jackie Curtis, footage of writhing, orgasmic people undergoing Reichian therapy, and, of course, hardcore sex to form a, well, to form this film anyway. I came away with a little more knowledge about Reich, an undeniable attraction to Serbian women, and a genuine case of the wiggins from the interviews with Reich’s former neighbors and tormentors from right here in Rangeley, Maine. Rewarding weirdness.