There's a documentary in this film about Wilhelm Riech that is fascinating, and a mini-film about the relationship between a Yugoslavian activist and a Russian Ice skater, lots of old propaganda films featuring Stalin, and man dressed as a soldier wa...(read more) lking around New York and reciting poems in voice over.
Willhelm Riech was a psychologist and communist studying Freud, who came to the conclusion that the orgasm was essential to health, life, and world socialism. From here became a celebrity, guru, anti-pornography activist, and a bit of a mad scientist, until his writings were seized and burned by the US. Food and Drug administration, and he was eventually incarcerated(though for what this film is unclear).
The mini-film seems weird at first but makes sense if you think of the man as Russia and the Soviet System (which banned Riech's work and drove him out, as would the US later), and the woman as Yugoslavia (where the director is from). According to Riech there can be no true communism or true democracy until sexuality is made free, and the workers maintaining a healthy regiment of orgasms (the bodies self regulating life energy?).
Like that crazy general in Dr. Strangelove, who became "enlightened" when he refused to give woman any more of his precious "life energy", Riech and director Makavejev and by extension Kubrik seem to think many of our political tensions have sexual relationships we ignore, until it manifests as it's inverse, violence. Which is what I gather the "talking head" at the end is supposed to signify, the horrors of the world, without Riech's orgasms, deep breathing and primal screaming (actually the part that made the most uncomfortable), and Orgone accumulator Boxes(which look a lot like small closets).
Riech's free love world is very much one of the 70's, a time before venereal disease, a time before public and ritual rape in Congo became the military weapon of choice(as a horrific 60 minutes report last night discussed...yeesh), before internet porn, but only a year after the Stonewall Riots, a strange time for sex and the state.
Anyway, it was very well made, the music by very early underground rock band "The Fugs" stands out a lot in particular. The editing though jarring at first, is also the great device of this film, alternating fact, fiction, and dramatization in ways which were revolutionary for its time and pretty fresh now. The real revolution of this movie is probably found in it's technical skill with the material, which veers from comic, to realistic, to pornographic without announcing itself.
The scene with everyone passing the egg yoke, was the one I found most effective. Nothing is said in that scene, but there's a palpable sexual tension and repulsion in it, that sets the tone for the rest of the movie.
"Absurdistan" is a word I learned, for life under Soviet control, how many felt like the bureaucracies had reduced their lives to a kind of absurd theater of Kafka story(people forced to publicly ask to be executed, etc.), a lot of the films and art to come under this umbrella is similarly fragmented and anarchic, which may help to explain "W.R. Mysteries of The Organism", which is an interesting, and very stylized, if dated curiosity, and look at sex at communism.