Saturday, August 18, 2007

Filmanthropy 1: Sweet Movie (OST)

Disappeared from the imdb listing for the film, but Dusan Makavejev's Sweet Movie was among a number of films maudite produced by the production company, Filmanthrope.

Filmanthrope were responsible for some of the finest European art/freak cinema of the late '60s thru mid-'70s; Themroc, & works by Alain Tanner and Marco Ferreri.

Sweet Movie is, for me, the pinnacle of Makavejev's filmmaking - clever, creative & fun in equal measure. It also documents a uniquely aspirational moment of the continental counter-culture, with a narrative thread involving Otto Muehl's aktionist crew, and a Pierre Clementi who was already the veteran of work for Bunuel & Pasolini.

Composer Hadjidakis was a partisan for rebetika, and is uniquely responsible for elevating it to greater esteem in Greek culture. He also popularised the bouzouki, and was an early champion of fellow composers, Mikos Theodorakis & Iannis Xenakis.
Thus, while he was a cultural nationalist, he also did much to promote Greek modernism - as in the song cycles he adapted from the poetry of native surrealist, Nikos Gatsos.

By the time of this soundtrack commission he had substantial experience of film scoring, having won the US Academy Award for Never On Sunday (1960). I've come across quite a few of his recordings on old vinyls, but for my ears this is easily the finest of his works - the perfectly bittersweet complement to Makavajev's colourful monsterpiece of whimsy & tragoedia: a libertarian sono/cine-manifesto.

Music & lyrics : Manos Hadjidakis,
except 4 & 8 : lyrics by Makavejev & Ann Lonnberg

1.Ta paidia kato ston kampo (2:42)
2.Oi paragkes kai oi anthropoi (1:30)
3.Serenata gia thn sexoualikh apousia (3:16)
4.Is there life on the earth? (2:35)
5.H sexoualikh polyrrythmia (2:07)
6.Oi paragkes kai h kefalh toy karl marx (2:56)
7.Nyxterino (3:24)
8.Is there life on the earth? (1:04)
9.Ta paidia kato ston kampo (3:37)
10.strip tease gia tria paidia (4:47)
11.nyxterino gia dyo fones (2:22)
12.o xoros ths sokolatas (2:39)
13.ta paidia kato ston kampo (2:31)
14.h sexoualikh polyrrythmia kai ta tria paidia (3:01)

Additional music : Les Chants Révolutionnaires du Monde – Les Flûtes Roumaines

download the Sweet Movie OST here

... the imdb soundtrack listing details a couple other tracks, not on the commercial OST release:
  • "Réel de L'Arrivée", Dominique Tremblay and Denis Boucher

  • "Macho", Music by Pierre Dutour/Lyrics by Santiago El Ghi

  • "Bandiera Rossa", Record: Chants Revolutionaires du Monde
Some links:

An interview with Dusan Makavejev

The new Criterion DVD release - with David Sterrit's essay

Details of the original Greek soundtrack release

Julien Mazaudier's essay on the soundtrack (in French)

... both this, and Makavayev's previous film W.R. Mysteries of the Organism, are informed to some extent by the theories of Wilhelm Reich - principally, "The Mass Psychology of Fascism" and "The Invasion of Compulsory Sex-Morality" - some info on him, here, and a hilarious photo, here

Thanks to Joel, from Brisbane's OtherFilm Festival, for originally gifting this soundtrack to me... Cheers, ears!

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Blogger the antipenultimate said...

Finally saw this yesterday for the first time. Got the criterion number. Holy moly it's a camping saucer replete with mind mess. Too good. DVD print etc were of super high standard. One of my housemates got up and left the house in disgust!! Ultimate Freud, Marx, Bataille sausage party. Now i want to see W.R again - saw that many moons ago when i was rocking a fragile eggshell mind. Working in shitty environment and living in a plastic consumer city makes these films more essential than ever. yip and split.

11:34 pm  
Blogger Erich Scholz said...

I too agree that this is Hadjidakis at his best. The score is musical, playful and compliments the film perfectly. And yes, sensitive souls have been known to flee when SWEET MOVIE comes on...too much art!

3:09 am  
Blogger kate said...

Lovely, thorough. Can you guess how I might find a recording of "Macho" by Pierre Dutour? I have been scouring the internet and pooling all of my personal recourses but to no avail. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions!

1:26 am  
Blogger jim knox said...

...erm, sorry I can't help you so much w/ the Pierre Dutour bit; I only know him as a prodigious composer of library music & I presume that's the way to find this track. Time was, I was working in the SFX library of ABC radio & had ready access to 7000 vinyls of stock music - but that collection has since been liquidated.

BTW, I guess I should add that the original vinyl release of this (& most likely the promo 45 for radio djs) has a longer cut of tk4 "Is there life on the earth?" w/ an extra verse - prominent expletive in the lyric.

8:59 am  
Blogger katia said...

Dusan Makavejev’s “Sweet Movie”/SWM (1976)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, SWM 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 porousprosperity). By Victor Enyutin

3:27 am  

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