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W. R.: Mysteries of the Organism (W.R. - Misterije organizma)

W. R.: Mysteries of the Organism (W.R. - Misterije organizma) (1971)

tomatometer

71

Average Rating: 6.5/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 2

No consensus yet.

audience

75

liked it
Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 1,105

My Rating

Movie Info

"W.R." is pioneering sexologist Wilhelm Reich, whose precedent-breaking theories concerning carnal behavior and politics (including the invention of the orgone box) made him persona non grata in most psychoanalytic circles. By all accounts, Reich began his career brilliantly - as the next great successor to Freud and Jung; he then delved into extraordinarily controversial work that divided his critics, leading some to conclude that Reich had experienced a psychotic break from reality. Dusan

NC-17,

Special Interest

Dusan Makavejev

Jan 8, 2013

Criterion Collection

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All Critics (15) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (12) | Rotten (2) | DVD (7)

The wittiest and possibly truest thing in it is an analysis of Stalinist propaganda films as displaced pornography.

November 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

ndeed, it's hard to think of a headier mix of fiction and nonfiction, or sex and politics, than this brilliant 1971 Yugoslav feature by Dusan Makavejev.

November 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Although it seemed like some kind of breakthrough at the time, Makavejev's film isn't improving with age.

August 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It is no wonder then that the film, which begins by proclaiming that life should be joyful, turns out to be one of the gloomiest of recent memory.

May 21, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An insanely brilliant comedy.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's worth seeing because it gets one's juices flowing whether buying into the martyred Reich's theories or not.

July 9, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A truly weird film.

June 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Funny, funny.

September 24, 2006
ColeSmithey.com

Audacious Cold War Yugoslavian essay establishes the relationship between sex, power and liberation.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

The title is all you need to know that this film is out of the ordinary.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Makavejev's defining work is one of eerily appropriate juxtapositions, fact and fiction, old footage and new

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Audience Reviews for W. R.: Mysteries of the Organism (W.R. - Misterije organizma)

This is an intricate, complex, interesting film. I'm not sure what all the Russian political stuff is about, but I found it engaging anyway. It's a pretty strange movie, but interesting if you like weird interesting movies of the 70s.
December 22, 2010
ajv2688

Super Reviewer

Dusan Makavejev's "W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism" simply defies classification. Perhaps it's more of a "think piece" than anything belonging to a standard film genre.

"W.R." refers to the controversial, possibly demented psychologist Wilhelm Reich. And most of the film's 84 minutes are devoted to promoting his ideas, in ways both subtle and explicit. Sometimes, very explicit.

The first 25 minutes are almost a straightforward documentary about Reich's life and work. For the movie's purposes, the key details are his Marxist politics and a belief in sexual ecstasy as a central regulator of one's health and stability. Part of the latter theory is his dubious focus on a ubiquitous, blue-tinted energy which he named "orgone." He even suggested that replenishing the body's orgone levels would cure cancer. He invented two notorious devices for channeling this precious force: the cloudbuster (a series of sky-aimed pipes which allegedly could produce rainfall) and the orgone accumulator (a person-sized booth lined with layers of wood and metal). Eventually, Reich's ideas became so contested that the U.S. government actually destroyed many of his books and contraptions. He died in 1957.

The manifesto of "W.R." arrives early: "Comrade lovers, for your health's sake, f*ck freely." The remaining scenes cut between multiple people who generally follow this principle. The Fugs' Tuli Kupferberg walks the streets dressed like a soldier, bellowing mock-military rhetoric while waving a toy gun. Professional plaster-caster Nancy Godfrey takes a mold of a young man's erection (yes, the film shows hard penises). A glittery drag queen eats ice cream with his lover and talks about his first fling. An artist discusses painting portraits of people masturbating. Women writhe in feigned sexual heat as cathartic therapy. There's also some simulated stock footage of Joseph Stalin. But the largest chunk of time is devoted to two female radicals who live together and stridently preach the ways of Marxist free love. One of them is frequently nude, and even has what appears to be genuine intercourse onscreen. The girls attend an ice-skating performance with an amusing Communist slant and end up luring a handsome Russian skater back to their lair. This subplot has a bizarre, unexpected conclusion which arguably does not fit the movie's themes so well, but rest assured that the skater winds up crooning a quite lovely folk song.

The film's shambling structure is somewhat charming but mostly irksome and, to make matters worse, I couldn't parse at least a dozen lines due to white subtitles being laid over light-colored imagery. Meanwhile, the opening credits waste a perfectly good egg.
May 7, 2012
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

Although it is a VERY strange film, it is a must see because of two things: Sex and Politics. It cannot get better than this. The film might seem a bit to sophisticated and philosophical at times, but there are still other things to enjoy!!!
It is not a typical conventional narrative film, but a collage which brings two separate subjects into one concept that might makes sense in the end. You might not understand what in the world im saying, but just enjoy yourself watching this "documentary" and you'll understand.
Dont forget!!! There is Sex and Politics!!! It definitely wont be a disappointment!
February 8, 2008
shannylee38
Linda K. T.

Super Reviewer

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