Montenegro (1981) - Rotten Tomatoes

Montenegro (1981)

Montenegro (1981)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Montenegro Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Marilyn Jordan (Susan Anspach), an American-born housewife, mother, and socialite living in Sweden, is crumbling under the weight of her own existence. She deeply resents her husband Martin's (Erland Josephson) frequent holiday absences and his indifferent attitude toward their two children ("If they are going to grow up in today's world," he admits, "it's about time they faced the fact that nobody keeps promises anymore"). Moreover, Marilyn's eccentric father (who believes he is Buffalo Bill and fires off guns in the house to prove it) and her children -- who hatch an outrageous plan to set up a dating service for senior citizens -- start to drive her completely around the bend. Marilyn feels herself domestically imprisoned -- encased in a bell jar. Her subsequent behavior grows not simply eccentric, but irrational and then comically outrageous. She cooks wiener schnitzel for the entire family, but eats it all herself; unsuccessfully attempts to poison the family beagle; and -- convinced that insects are attacking her during the night -- showers the plant above her bed with bug repellent, much to Martin's consternation. Finally, irritated by Martin's sexual indifference to her, Marilyn manages to get his attention in a last, desperate move by setting his bed on fire late one night. Deeply concerned, Martin consults psychologist Dr. Pazardjian (Per Oscarsson), who does little to help Marilyn and (indeed) turns out to be even nuttier than any of the members of the Jordan family. Via a comic security mix-up, Marilyn later becomes stranded at the Stockholm airport and hitches a ride with a band of horny Yugoslavian immigrants celebrating the new year; they take her to their ZanziBar nightclub for a couple of days, where she begins to break out of her domestic prison by engaging in a torrid extramarital affair with randy Slavic zookeeper Montenegro and by performing as a one-time chaunteuse on-stage. Eventually, Marilyn's family beckons for her to return -- but her brush with independence has made her a very different woman, indeed. Montenegro marked controversial writer/director Dusan Makavejev's English-language debut, and earned widespread critical raves for Anspach's career-defining performance.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Arnie Gelbart, Donald Arthur, Bo Jönsson, Dusan Makavejev
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 11, 2001
Atlantic Releasing Corporation


Susan Anspach
as Marilyn Jordan
Erland Josephson
as Martin Jordan
Per Oscarsson
as Dr. Aram Pazardjian
Lisbeth Zachrisson
as Rita Rossignol
Paul L. Smith
as Cab Driver
James Marsh
as Jimmy Jordan
Marina Zindahl
as Secretary
Marina Lindahl
as Secretary
Nikola Janic
as Moustapha
Milo Petrovic
as Zanzibar Customer
John Parkinson
as Piano Player
Jan Nygren
as Police Officer
Kaarina Harvistola
as lst Policewoman
Ewa Gislen
as 2nd Policewoman
Elsie Holm
as Tap-Dancing Lady
Paul Smith
as Cab Driver
Bo Ivan Peterson
as Bo Ivan Peterson
Lasse Aaberg
as Customs Inspector
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Montenegro

Critic Reviews for Montenegro

All Critics (13) | Top Critics (4)

If it begins deceptively, as though setting out to be your typically angst-ridden Swedish art movie, by the time it's reached its set of climaxes,Makavejev's film could not have strayed further from the beaten track.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

There can be something absolutely liberating about a movie that makes up its rules as it goes along.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A halfheartedly Surreal comedy filled with forced high spirits, unconvincing lunacies and failed sight gags.

Full Review… | August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

A paean to the liberating power of dirt, as in both grime and smut.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

The first half of Montenegro seems to be a parody of Ingmar Bergman films, where characters wallow instead of doing anything about their problems. It's no accident that director Dusan Makajevev cast Bergman-regular Erland Josephson as the miserly husband.

Full Review… | September 8, 2012

The screen's most good-natured slaughter of familial order

Full Review… | June 4, 2010

Audience Reviews for Montenegro

Upon hearing "Montenegro"'s thumbnail plot (essentially, "Bored Housewife Gone Wild"), I anticipated writer/director Dusan Makavejev -- creator of the insanely hedonistic "Sweet Movie" and "W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism" -- depicting all sorts of unspeakable debauchery. Given these expectations, "Montenegro" is surprisingly tame. Sure, there is a sex act in a mound of grain, a suggested three-way between unlikely partners, a shocking use of poison, a friendly man with a knife embedded in his forehead and an unforgettable burlesque dance (the girl courts a toy military tank with an "erect" vibrator attached), but otherwise? Appalling table manners are about as bad as it gets. Toss in a contraband pig carcass and a grandfather who thinks he's Buffalo Bill, if you like. Regardless, I doubt the film had any trouble avoiding an "X" rating, even though the story sounds like a classic pornography template.

Susan Anspach is Marilyn Jordan, wife of a wealthy but inattentive businessman (Ingmar Bergman stalwart Erland Josephson). Obviously frustrated with a pampered lifestyle where her biggest problem is a lynx coat's excessive shedding, she has been acting out in strange ways. When she spontaneously decides to accompany her husband on a short trip, there is an unexpected security issue and she misses the flight. Detained at the airport, she finds herself bonding with some Yugoslavian gypsies, who end up whisking her away to their odd, isolated compound. The troop's raucous celebrations are a refreshing novelty, and she releases her inhibitions. The results are alternately delightful and disturbing.

Bless his warped heart, Makavejev remains cheerfully tasteless and clumsy as a director. The story takes far too long to heat up (about 45 minutes), and the musical score is typically goofy. There are extreme facial closeups, awkward insertions of animal footage (it's, like, metaphorical) and plenty of overacted scenes (particularly in the case of Per Oscarsson's effete psychiatrist). As for time-dated content, we also get two ABBA tunes and some awful '70s perms. Still, the film's ending is so good that you'll forgive most of the earlier mishaps.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

Crazy, crazy, crazy lady, and based on a true story to boot.

FanGirl Browncoat

Super Reviewer

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