Jan Svankmajer's "Conspirators Of Pleasure"

Started by Andrew McIntosh, December 13, 2009, 02:25:29 PM

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Andrew McIntosh

I've mentioned this film before on the Tronik's board, but was reminded of it again today and really want to bring up this classic.

Hopefully Jan Svankmajer is known to many people. This movie features actually very little of his animation but has his definite touch. No dialogue, ultra close ups, the use of common, everyday mess and refuse, and extreme surrealist weirdness.

The film is about a group of "normal" people and their sexual indulgences. Mostly solo, the characters are connected in vague ways. Their sexual peccadilloes are explored in great detail: there are fetishes here that I'm not even sure exist. As tempted as I am to describe them, part of the joy of this film is watching with revulsion/amusement/amazement/etc. as the fetishes are lived out in very graphic detail. In that way, I would describe this movie as pornographic; lots of cringey close-ups of these upright citizens getting their rocks off as they see and feel fit. Personally I found the toe sucking fish to be the hardest to deal with, but that's just me.

What I love is the way normality is completely ripped bare to reveal the reality of peoples' inner psyches. Everyone is eager not to be seen enjoying their peccadilloes, and the whole game of putting up the fa├žade so one can eagerly indulge in what makes one alive is shown up as the bullshit it is. Svankmajer's grim humour is another important part of the film.

If people haven't seen this gem, I hope you are able to track it down and view it at least once. Although I'd recommend not eating at the time.
Shikata ga nai.