03 March 2012

Montenegro ('81)

"You know you're a very wise dog, and boys must know how to make decisions. I'm going to put poison in your milk. Whatever you do is up to you. You can drink it, or you can leave it alone. Whatever you do is your decision. But if you want my advice don't drink it."

Cracked housewife Marilyn Jordan (Susan Anspach) begins to feel the world in a changed way, in Montenegro, the movie directed and co-written by Dusan Makavejev. She is American, her successful husband Martin (Erland Josephson) is Swedish, and the gypsies she becomes entangled with are, I assume, from Montenegro.

At the time this film was made the name of the country was Socialist Republic of Montenegro. I know so little about the area and what it went through, what Yugoslavia was and how it reached its present form. Seems like the area underwent much unrest and heartache. Makavejev is from Serbia and studied in its capital city Belgrade. His movies are odd visions, and when I watch them I wonder about his life experiences, what he was exposed to, what his culture is like, what his perspective on filmmaking is; when I watch his movies I encounter these qualities, because his creativity is as expansive as it is explosive, and shattered fragments of all these things exist across his work. In other words, I find Makavejev vastly interesting. Not only his early experimental work, not only his masterwork WR: Mysteries of the Organism, but also I found Montenegro irresistible, and I'm a huge fan of The Coca-Cola Kid.

It's cool to watch a movie and wonder about people and places. It's cool when a movie feels like the soul-splatter of an individual. Makavejev is cool. He has a gift for curlicue narratives that wholly embrace chaos. I think Makavejev takes abstractions and gives them surprising concrete shapes. Maybe sometimes too he takes the concrete and stretches it to an abstraction. In Montenegro the unexpected, absurd, quotidian, and erotic are treated with equal seriousness. 

When unusualness occurs it's given full expression and the emotions of the characters seem clear. No matter what happens in a movie, if the emotions of the characters are clear, the audience is able to identify, and experience emotions themselves.

Note: The frame appears oddly cropped on Netflix steaming, like a section of the top is missing. Maybe it was full-frame originally?

No comments:

Post a Comment