• film

Free to Love: Cinema of the Sexual Revolution

WR: Mysteries of the Organism

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Saturday 2/8
7:00 pm
Ibrahim Theater
$9 General Public
$7 Students & Seniors
FREE IHP Members

FOR FILMS AND EVENTS PRESENTED BY IHP, Tickets ARE Also Available From the IHP Box Office, which is generally open from one hour before until one hour after the starting time of a ticketed event.  (For double-features, it will remain open until the second feature starts.) It will typically not be open during free admission events.  

dir. Dušan Makavejev, Yugoslavia, 1971, 35mm, 85 min.

This program contains adult content
Introduced by J Hoberman

“Comrade-lovers: for your health’s sake, fuck freely!” Serbian raconteur Dušan Makavejev’s WR: Mysteries of the Organism was so sexually and politically controversial it was banned in the director’s home country and resulted in his exile for the next seventeen years. The film, a fiction-documentary hybrid, uses the life and theories of psychiatrist/sexologist Wilhelm Reich as a jumping off point to discuss the revolutionary potential of human sexuality, not only in terms of personal freedom but also in the realms of global politics and economics. Seemingly disparate episodes (such as counterculture musician Tuli Kupferberg stalking passerby dressed as an oversexed G.I. or a meeting of the underground magazine Screw with editors working in the buff) punctuate and surround the central narrative of Milena, a young Serbian feminist who is fixated upon an ice skater not coincidentally named Vladimir Ilyich (after Bolshevik leader Lenin).

Out of the strong wave of revolutionary Eastern European cinema being produced around the time (the critical and formal experimentation of the Czechoslovak New Wave, the visually poetic yet political Hungarian cinema, the masterpieces being produced by graduates of the Łódź Film School in Poland), WR: Mysteries of the Organism pushes the boundaries of subversive filmmaking the farthest, creating an incendiary, radical argument for global sexual liberation. It’s no wonder legendary film critic Amos Vogel featured the film on the cover of his book Film as a Subversive Art, in which he called it “a tribute to the ultimate power of ideas over institutions.”

Free to Love: The Cinema of the Sexual Revolution has 
been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage