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W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism

W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (W.R. - Misterije organizma, W.R. - Мистерије организма) is a 1971 film by Dušan Makavejev that explores the relationship between communist politics and sexuality, as well as exploring the life and work of Wilhelm Reich.

Narrative and documentary elements

The film intercuts documentary footage with, predominantly, a narrative about a Yugoslav woman who seduces a Russian ice skater. Despite different settings, characters and time periods, the different elements produce a single story of human sexuality and revolution through a montage effect.

The main elements juxtaposed throughout the film are:

Milena is a metaphor for the Yugoslavian working class's struggle for liberation against the totalising influence of Russian communist state. Milena is killed when her sexual encounter with Vladimir Illych (the representative of Russian communism) goes awry. (To make the parallel more obvious, the Russian artist is a full namesake of Lenin (Lenin's proper Russian name was Vladimir Illych). Also, during his speech on the abandoned ship's deck, he assumed a position typical of how Lenin was depicted in numerous statues of him.) He, unable to fully experience his orgasmic urge, beheads her with his ice skate which is the film's metaphor for revolutionary theory. Makavejev dooms self-determination of the Yugslavian people, and the struggle of people worldwide for true freedom, to the fate of being totalised by Russian state communism, and the quest for sexual freedom to be overshadowed by "red fascists".

The song that Vladimir sings in Russian after Milena's murder at the end of the movie is called "François Villon's Prayer" by Bulat Okudzhava.

Tuli Kupferberg

Poet and performance artist Tuli Kupferberg of band The Fugs, dressed as a soldier, parodies war and the sexual nature of man's fascination with guns by stalking affluent New Yorkers on the street and masturbating his toy rifle. As part of the climax of the film, the Kupferberg's gun masturbation is intercut with other orgasmic sequences.


Artist Betty Dodson discusses her experiences in drawing acts of masturbation, as well as her discussions within consciousness raising groups about female sexual response. The Dodson sequences are relatively straight forward documentary interviews; Dodson's large scale drawing of a man masturbating dominates the background of the shots.

Nancy Godfrey is an artist who makes a cast of Jim Buckley's erect penis on film. This scene was a point of contention for the censors. On most prints Buckley's penis is covered with psychedelic colours added in editing.

Jackie Curtis

Jackie Curtis, one of Andy Warhol's entourage and occasional film star, is shown on the streets of New York.

Screw magazine

Screw is an "underground" magazine that often focused on sexual issues. The film only shows one scene of Screw magazine, where editors work in the nude.

Alexander Lowen

The film also features a rare on-screen interview with neo-Reichian therapist Alexander Lowen, the founder of bioenergetic analysis, during a therapy session.


See also

External links

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