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Film / W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism

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It gets weirder...

W.R. - Misterije organizma (English: W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism) is a 1971 Serbian Documentary/Comedy/Arthouse film directed by Dušan Makavejev.

Roughly the first third of the film consists of a pseudo-documentary about the life and work of psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich; who was once an associate of Sigmund Freud. Wilhelm Reich had this theory that the essence of life consisted of sexual energy called "Orgone". He believed that diseases such as cancer were caused by an inhibited orgonal flow, and he constructed chambers called "orgone accumulators" that would infuse people with orgone energy to cure them and improve their sexual potency. Originally from eastern Europe; Reich was a devoted communist who believed that the only way the USSR could achieve utopia was by advocating free sexuality, thus resulting in uninhibited orgonal flow. Uh-huh. Reich was booted out of the USSR and he wound up in Nazi Germany, where he was booted out again to America. Here, he got persecuted as a crackpot and his books were burned. One thing that may have contributed to this could possibly be that one of his therapies involved having patients engage in orgies.


...Anyways, the remaining two thirds of the film revolve around a (fictional) Yugoslavian woman who is an advocate of Reich's theories as she romances a Russian ice skater named Vladimir Illych. He beheads her with his skate when he has an orgasm.

...These two narratives are intercut with footage of, among other things: performance artist Tuli Kupferberg of band The Fugs parading around New York dressed as a soldier whilst masturbating a toy rifle, Artist Betty Dodson discussing her experiences in drawing acts of masturbation as well as her discussions within consciousness raising groups about female sexual response, and Jim Buckley getting a plaster cast made of his erect penis.

Of the numerous films of the late '60s and early '70s that positively gloried in the sexual revolution and the release of social shackles on free expression in general, W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism is one of the most ambitious, most confused, and downright weirdest. It was also one of the most controversial, its numerous nude sex scenes and frank dialog about masturbation and sexual stimulation ensuring both substantial audiences and outcries from Moral Guardians. In some ways, it's a briliant piece of art, in others, it's an incoherent mess. In any case W.R. may be the only avant-garde slapstick communist documentary sex romp ever made, and that alone makes it a must-see.


Is the first in a loose unofficial trilogy followed by Sweet Movie and Montenegro.

This film provides examples of:

  • All Psychology Is Freudian: Partly averted. A large portion of it is about Wilhelm Reich. But then, he was an assisstant of Freud.
  • Artistic License – History: In Real Life, Wilhelm Reich never lived in the Soviet Union, and while his patients and followers probably did engage in orgies from time to time it wasn't part of any of Reich's therapies.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Some of the film's dialogue is in Serbian.
  • Celebrity Cameo: Tuli Kupferberg (The Fugs) has a memorable moment where he walks around dressed up as as soldier, sexually stroking his gun as the soundtrack plays "Kill For Peace" from The Fugs Second Album.
  • Commie Nazis: Averted. The film makes it clear that fascism and communism are distinct ideologies.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms
  • Dirty Communists: Possibly. Whether communism is portray as a good or a bad thing in this film is a matter of personal interpretation.
  • Euroshlock: An unusual rather upbeat and light-hearted example.
  • Glorious Mother Russia
  • Le Film Artistique
  • Male Frontal Nudity
  • Mind Screw
  • Red Scare: Acording to this film, Reich was persecuted for this reason. (The reality was somewhat different; at the time Reich was indicted by the FDA, he was an ardent anti-communist.)
  • Shout-Out: Some of the film's scenes reenacts Sergei Eisenstein's films.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Have sex, or else you will become a psychopathic murderer.
  • Widget: Try explaining to your friends that this movie is half a documentary about a psychologist who thought that sex was the key to the USSR's success, and half a comedy about a communist romancing an ice skater who decapitates her when they have sex. After which the severed head talks to the audience.


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