Overindulgence in the Time of Exile: Channeling Transgressive Eroticism through Exilic Filmmaking in Dušan Makavejev’s Sweet Movie

Sat9  Apr04:40pm(20 mins)
Umney Lounge


Toni Juricic


Serbian filmmaker Dušan Makavejev (1932 – 2019) channeled carnal imagery to compose subversive cinematic examinations of societies, including that of socialist Yugoslavia. Makavejev’s juxtaposition of excessive imagery with sensitive political themes culminated the author’s exile to Western Europe in the early 1970s. The creative freedom offered by the host societies resulted in the production of Sweet Movie (1974), a film whose explicit imagery of defecation, child molestation, and sexual arousal from vomiting shocked the audience and critics alike. This paper will argue that Makavejev’s unique position, an author exiled from the socialist state and whose first exilic film remains banned or censored in most countries, exemplifies Hamid Naficy’s (2001) theory of accented filmmaking. For Naficy, accented films are devised by displaced filmmakers who are forced into exile or who found themselves as part of a diaspora. It is exile and diaspora where the sudden deterritorialization may urge displaced authors to deploy excess within their cinematic texts. To ameliorate the notion of excess devised by the exiled filmmakers, Georges Bataille’s (1967) theory on eroticism and its relation to transgressive behavior will adumbrate the provocative narrative of Sweet Movie. In so doing, this paper shall reveal the notion of excess in Makavejev’s film as the discourse that probes into the transgressions of the social order to compose a scatological representation of society.

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