Feb 21, 2013

WR: Mysteries of the Organism

Out of all the messianic psychoanalysts with godlike complexes, Freudian-Marxist Wilhelm Reich – a funny fellow who genuinely believed “not a single neurotic individual possesses orgastic potency,” that National Socialism was the result of sexual repression (as if Joseph Goebbels was not a big enough man whore), and that “orgone” (aka orgasm) energy was a ‘cosmic energy’ which uneducated laymen described as ‘God’ – takes the kosher cake for being the biggest crackpot of the pseudo-scientific psychoanalytic movement, so it is no surprised that, unlike Sigmund Freud and C.G. Jung, the salacious soul-doctor is relatively unknown today and rarely acknowledged in academia, which is at least in part due to the embarrassingly dogmatic nature of his sex-obsessed ideas and his perverse and ultimately pathetic personal life. By the 1930s, Reich had become a bad joke of sorts among his fellow psychoanalysts, not least of all due to his ‘hands on’ approach with nude patients (a number of whom become submissive sex partners and would perform illegal abortions with at least one ending in the individual's death, all at the good doctor's command) so, on top of wanting to escape from the Hebrew-hostile National Socialists, the quaint quack moved to the United States in 1939 and was eventually convicted of mail fraud in 1956 for illegally shipping ‘orgone accumulators’ and related schizoid literature after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration obtained an injunction against the interstate shipment of such dubious pseudo-scientific materials, thus he was imprisoned and died shamefully of a heart attack not long after. In Serbian auteur filmmaker Dušan Makavejev’s (Man is Not a Bird, Montenegro) Reichian film W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism (1971) aka W.R. - Misterije organizma – a delightfully deranged dichotomous cinematic work that is half documentary and half sardonic/surrealist fantasy flick – a naively noble but ultimately laughable attempt is made to rehabilitate Wilhelm Reich and his work and satirize the ‘impure communism’ of corrupt comrade Joseph Stalin in an exceedingly eccentric and sexually excessive manner that makes for an undeniably enthralling aesthetic and thematic experience, even if you're the sort of individual who concurs with the sentiment, "Better Dead Than Red." Banned in Makavejev's homeland of what was then Yugoslavia for its apparently blasphemous portrayal of bolshevism and sexuality, and inevitably resulting in the director’s exile from the country for nearly two decades, W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism is a startlingly subversive cinematic work more in the spirit of unhinged anti-Occidental anarchism than an intellectually competent cry for so-called ‘pure communism’ – the argument made by all Marxist fanboys when one mentions that some 100+ million people died during the twentieth century due to Marxist regimes – thus making it a movie that makes the unintentional argument that artists do not always make for great political minds or at least that is what one can only conclude after someone makes the more than dubious argument that, "Only Revolution Ends War!"

Beginning with the quote, “This film is, in part, a personal response to the life and teachings of Dr. Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957)…Studying orgasmic reflex, as Sigmund Freud’s first assistant, Reich discovered life energy, revealing the deep roots of fear of freedom, fear of truth, and fear of love in contemporary humans. All his life, Reich fought against pornography in sex and politics. He believed in work-democracy, in an organic society based on liberated work and love,” W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism sets up a sentimental idealist tone that is ultimately at odds with the satirically titillating and sometimes tragicomedic absurdism that shines throughout the work, at least as far as the fictional fantasy component of the film is concerned. Featuring narration of what sounds like the words of a wanton witch doctor with the pseudo-scientific psychobabble of a quote, “Cancer is the hysteria of cells condemned to death. Cancer and fascism are closely related. Fascism is the frenzy of sexual cripples. The swastika owes its magnetism to being a symbol of two bodies locked in genital embrace. It all stems from a longing from love…,” W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism establishes early on that Reich – a man whose own daughter argued that his lifelong obsession with sex was the result of being molested as a child – stressed sex over science and sex over love. Reich oddly believed that communism and ‘free love’ were intrinsically compatible and Makavejev's W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism makes the patently absurd argument that communism failed in Eastern Europe because the Soviets abandoned this perverse Trotskyite principle of psychological enslavement via sexual obsession (a strategy also used by Hollywood). Featuring cameos from counter-culture figures ranging from hideous Hebrew Tuli Kupferberg as a psychotic soldier who parades around his gun as a pseudo-phallic device while antagonistically annoying Wall Street businessmen in a scene that attempts to argue that ‘sexual frustration and violence’ are interconnected, as well as Warhol Superstar/tranny Jackie Curtis as an example of Reich’s ideas on aberrant sexuality, W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism makes it clear that atheistic left-wing Ashkenazis and cynical, sexually ambiguous drug addicts should be the real heroes of Bolshevism and not heroic war heroes who did their own fair of orgone energy transferring raping German girls at the conclusion (and for some time afterward) of the Second World War.

 Undoubtedly, the fictional narrative-driven segment of W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism has aged the most gracefully, because otherwise this determinedly degenerate démodé celluloid work would be nothing more than an inanely idealistic left-wing equivalent to a Mondo Cane documentary without it, hence why the director's subsequent effort, Sweet Movie (1974) – a more narrative-based and comedic work – has aged more gracefully. The strikingly sardonic segment of W.R. Mysteries of the Organism focuses on a young and beautiful Yugoslavian madam of Marxism named Milena (Milena Dravić) who falls from Bolshevik grace after becoming enamored with a nefarious and narcissistic Stalinist ice skater named Vladimir Ilyich (Ivica Vidović) whose personal fame has led him to feel superior to the people of the workers' revolution. Hopelessly tainted by Western capitalism as a corrupt Superstar and cult of personality in the spirit of Stalin (old Soviet propaganda films about the ‘man of steel’ are inter-spliced in the film) who is not a lover of the people, but merely a man possessed by sacrilegious self-love that reaches it zenith when he decapitates the star-crossed woman who loves him via the blade of his ice skate. Indeed, once Milena had to do more for ‘love’ than merely spread her legs and spout manic Marxist dribble, the commie dream went down the drain faster than comrade Trotsky did after having a ice-pick driven through the back of his head, or as her decapitated head states quit eloquently, “Cosmic rays streamed through our coupled bodies. We pulsated to the vibrations of the universe. But he couldn’t bear it. He had to go one step further. Vladimir is a man of noble impetuousness…a man of great ambition…and immense energy. He’s romantic, ascetic, a genuine Red Fascist. Comrades…even now I’m not ashamed of my communist past.”

Indeed, what better way for a committed commie to discredit a piece of unflattering history than by describing it as ‘Red Fascism,’ or an individual like Uncle Joe as a ‘Red Fascist’ as such is the case in W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism; a quite kooky and obscenely outlandish  anti-Stalinist communist propaganda flick of the peculiar ‘Red Reichian’ persuasion that, due to its rather absurd ‘objective’ and ‘message,’ one must respect auteur Dušan Makavejev for his sheer audacity because had he made this film only a couple decades before, he would surely have ended up in a Gulag for being one of those “rootless cosmopolitan” types. As one of the female narrators states early on in W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism, Reich’s Maine-based research center ‘Orgonon’ did not exactly have the best reputation as apparently, “Rumor called it a secret Jewish organization that was masturbating patients in Orgone accumulators, experimenting on children kept in cages, and plotting to introduce work-democracy.” Of course, as the historical record shows, all these rumors, including rampant sexual abuse at the so-called Orgonomic Infant Research Center (OIRC) that was even vouched for by Reich’s unfortunate son Peter’s autobiography Book of Dreams (1973), were more or less true and in many cases far worse than the rumors would lead one to believe. By the end of his life, Reich’s mental health had declined so far that UFOs were waging war against the planet earth and mankind and he personally was engaged in a "full-scale interplanetary battle" with these evil extraterrestrials via his trusty ‘Cloudbuster’ (an ‘invention’ Reich said could cause rain by manipulating ‘orgasmic energy’ in the atmosphere). Of course, W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism – with its experiments in ‘cock casting’ (a mold is made of a porn director/producer named Jim ‘Debbie Does Dallas’ Buckley’s erect penis to ‘prove’ the artist’s sexual contact with a famous man), candid talks with tragic tranny Warhol Superstars like Jack Curtis (who died of a heroin overdose at the age of 38), underground magazine editors for Screw magazine ‘working in the nude,’ a hack artist named Betty Dodson whose only aesthetic inspiration is masturbation and who sincerely believed, “When it comes to sex, all women are gay,” and uniquely ugly ‘performance artist’ Tuli Kupferberg of the foully farcical hippie degenerate band The Fugs running around in neo-Vaudevillian manner as if he knows what it means to be a soldier as a passive wilted flower child – does not exactly make for the most logical, nor politically or scientifically sound argument for a ‘free love’ boner-based Bolshevik revolution. After all, people who spend their times fucking all day don’t tend to get much work done and those sexually repressive communist dictatorships of the past sure had their fair share of genocidal famines, so I doubt a group of 'dumpster-diving' hippies would be much better.

-Ty E

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