Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Eclipse Series 18: Dusan Makavejev—Free Radical (Criterion)—The Yugoslav director (best-known for his 1971 film W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism, also available from Criterion) has never shied from controversy in his subversive films. That’s made clear in this set of his first three features, which show him a bold, anarchic experimenter who explores political, social, psychological and sexual taboos. Man Is Not a Bird (1966) blasts the absurdity of a ''perfect'' Communist system that ignores the individual. 1967’s Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator takes that theme even further in its story of a rat catcher and phone operator's fatal tryst. And his 1968 Innocence Unprotected, which unearths the first Serbian talkie—made during World War II— and gleefully intercuts interviews with its stars and makers, is a scathing exposé of imperialism. The Eclipse transfers are acceptable (the rough-hewn look of these films perfectly mirrors their playful, pranksterish spirit) and there are brief but informative essay on each film.

originally posted on timessquare.com

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