Love Affair, or The Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator (1967)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Love Affair, or The Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator Photos

Movie Info

This tragicomedy is the second feature for Dusan Makavejev, the most celebrated Yugoslavian director of the 1960s. Included in this montage of stories is an erotic love scene, a strudel recipe, rat catching, and a graphic autopsy of a female victim. The plot concerns a love affair between a switchboard operator and a rat catcher. In most of his films, Makavejev takes a decidedly anti-Stalinist stance and champions the causes of individual political and sexual freedom. The director claims that style is not as important, as any kind of feature can tell the story. One of his favorite tools is using the element of psychological surprise. ~ Dan Pavlides, Rovi
Art House & International , Drama , Special Interest
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Written By:
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Criterion Collection


Eva Ras
as Isabela
Ruzica Sokic
as Ruza Isabela's Friend
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Love Affair, or The Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (4)

You have to be the victim of a certain state of mind to appreciate the humor and truth of Makavejev.

Full Review… | November 6, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Given that four of Makavejev's first five features are essentially the same film, it seems increasingly unlikely that he'll ever improve on this, his second movie, the most interesting and concentrated treatment of his recurrent themes.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

This is a charming picture, a subtle and sophisticated spoof of organized social education and of the modern-day sex comedy, right up to the point where it goes mawkish and turns into a melodramatic brawl over a pregnancy.

Full Review… | May 20, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

It's very funny and, with its ragged arrangement of warring styles and ideologies, very original: it's like a smutty, sticky-fingered Godard.

Full Review… | May 20, 2005
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Celebrates the force of sexuality even as it clashes, tragically, with traditional ideology

Full Review… | September 25, 2009

A tender, sweet, and ultimately very sad film.

Full Review… | November 6, 2007
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for Love Affair, or The Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator

This early Dusan Makavejev film is short on budget and acting talent, but is an interesting pointer to the director's later works. Typically, its tone is wildly eclectic -- the narrative breaks up a doomed tale of misfit romance with academic talk from a sexologist, a cooking segment, the history of the grey rat, satirical nods to propaganda film (patriotic marches everywhere) and a daring amount of nudity. There's also a crucial sex scene that's inexplicably symbolized via sort of a rotating tableau vivant that looks borrowed from a surrealist silent. And all this happens within a brisk 70 minutes. Despite the dour plot, Makavejev's gleefully anarchic style creates a mood that's more droll than sad. Cineastes will appreciate his unique quirks, but viewers expecting a character study may complain that the director's whims undercut the story's emotional pull.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer


"Love Affair, or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator" opens with Dr. Aleksandr DJ Kostic extolling the virtues of a healthy sex life. That's a path that best friends Izabela(Eva Ras) and Ruza(Ruzica Sokic) pursue enthusiastically while escaping from their dreary jobs. During their socializing, Izabela hooks up with Ahmed(Slobodan Aligrudic). If for no other reason than to act as buzzkill, along comes Dr. Zivojin L. Aleksic, a criminologist, to narrate an episode of "CSI: Belgrade," as the police retrieve Izabela's body, three months pregnant, from the sewers. Therefore, it would seem that life is short, so don't take anything for granted. But that's what the Communist government of Yugoslavia did, even if their time does not come for another couple of decades. But at this point, patriotic songs play everywhere, somewhat ironically.(This might be the first time anybody has ever gotten sexually excited watching a propaganda film but it is anti-clerical, which does make a weird sort of sense.) That's not the only part of the film that is dated, as some of the movie's once daring elements such as interracial relationships(Izabela is Hungarian while Ahmed is Turkish), premarital sex and nudity(although some people still do have a problem with this) are now wonderfully quaint.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Dusan Makavejev has one wicked sense of humor. It comes across in such away that you don't even realize it at first. The elegance and sweetness with which this piece is executed is so entrancing that one might almost forget to take a step back and laugh at the ridiculousness of it all, though Makavejev would never let that happen.

Aaron Wittwer
Aaron Wittwer

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