Growing up, I really loved (and still do) reading about foreign cinema and its great directors. One of the greatest longings for me was to see many types of films in the world, but they just weren't accessible, especially in the late 70s and 80s. One of these directors was Dusan Makavejev. Because of Tito, Soviet Russia, and how the good ol' USA felt about showing movies made in socialist countries, one could only READ about them and not see them, unless one was lucky enough to go to a film festival in a big city, or even abroad.
I had seen "Sweet Movie" and "WR: Mysteries of the Orga(ni)sm" (yes, the title was changed to "Organism"), because they were those "taboo movies" that mommy and daddy would not let you see (like "A Clockwork Orange," for example). I also liked "The Coca-Cola Kid" in the 80s.
A couple of years ago, I decided to write a paper and do a presentation on Makavejev's work, and, VOILA, Criterion had a box set that I didn't even know existed! I was able to do a decent analysis which discussed his early works and their pertinence to Tito's Yugoslavia.
"Man is Not a Bird" is a great early work about Socialist Industrial Yugoslavia, with sex, relationships, and Ludwig von thrown together.
"Love Affair..." I consider his best work - about a rat exterminator and his romantic urges.
"Innocence Unprotected" is a GREAT documentary about the acrobat Dragoljub Aleksic and tells his story, which is eerily juxtaposed with that of good ol' Tito - showing how people place legendary status upon people that have dubious beginnings and lives.
Yes, Makavejev's post-Yugoslavian work no longer has the impact as it did back in the 70s, in the heyday of pornography and revolutions, but the seeming "datedness" of his pictures doesn't show as much with these films (my opinion). He was a writer and director who, like Anais Nin and Henry Miller, played with censorship and what is appropriate (for example, one could cross-analyze Pasolini's "Salo" and Makavejev's "Sweet Movie" quite easily). With these 3 movies, he was staunchly "in your face" with Titoism and made movies that teetered on the edge of political blasphemy, as far as poking fun at ideology and the "larger than life" Tito.
Must buy, especially for die hard cinephiles, like myself, who are interested in films, history, and how films were produced in socialist regimes.
5 of 5! Thanks, Criterion! (also, looking forward to those New Wave Czech movies in their UPCOMING 2012 box set, which includes, among other greats, "The Joke"!).