Happy Birthday Dušan Makavejev!
Today is Dušan Makavejev's birthday. He directed Sweet Movie one of my all time favourite films, as well as Innocence Unprotected, one of the greatest movies about filmmaking ever made, as well as the charming Manifesto in the late 80s, the semi-autobiographical A Hole In The Soul in the mid-90s, and a number of excellent narrative films with documentary elements: Man is not a Bird, Love Affair or the Case of the Missing Switchboard Operator and finally W.R. Mysteries of the Organism, the film that got him effectively banned from his home country of Yugoslavia in 1971. He was a giant of cinema who has since fallen out of the spotlight, first because he was unable to secure financing for his ambitious political films (which is perhaps why Gorilla Bathes At Noon was made for so little money and was almost instantly forgotten), next because he often had to compromise and movies that veered toward commercial projects (both Montenegro and The Coca-Cola Kid started as loftier message films that were dulled into more general romantic fare, though there's a still a few great bits of surrealism and the director's own political imagination). He remains a giant to me and I wish to some day have a film an eighth as good as one of his. And even if people can't agree about his talent, they'll never deny his power: his movies have been banned, censored and cut worldwide and some people consider them truly monstrous. That doesn't happen to just anyone, especially when the opposition isn't nearly so articulate as his defenders. Sweet Movie is a film that changed the way I think about film, about the insignificance of the word obscenity and that sexuality can always be explored in new, challenging and beautiful ways. He is a hero of mine and I'd like very much to meet him if only to tell him that in person. His films made a difference.