In The 50 Worst Films of All Time–and How They Got That Way by Harry Medved and Randy Dreyfuss, this movie is destroyed. And yet it also ruined lives, with actress Anna Prucnal — just for being in this movie — finding herself exiled from her native Poland for seven years even being denied a visa to see her dying mother. Her role was added to the movie after the original protagonist Miss Canada (Carole Laure, Strange Shadows in an Empty Room) quit the film, saying “I admire Dusan very much but after he signed me to the movie, he asked me to do things no human being could do. I had to refuse. I could not do these things as a person, let alone an actress. I don’t mean sex scenes, to them I have no objection if the script is right. I mean much worse things than that.”
Director Dušan Makavejev was a member of the Black Wave of filmmaking creating some of the most interesting films of Yugoslav cinema in the late 1960s and early 1970s, including W.R.: Mysteries of the Organism, which is all about Wilhelm Reich, who was interested in the energy of the orgasm.
Miss Canada has won the award of being “most virgin” and given to a milk industry tycoon (John Vernon, how did he end up in this!?!) who treats her brutally, so she tried to leave and is taken away by the family bodyguard, who uses her for his own needs, then packs her in a suitcase for Paris, where she falls in love with singer El Macho, until nuns frighten them into sexual paralysis. She finally ends up in a commune where members are literally reborn, puking, urinating and defecating around one another before she ends up in a chocolate commercial that feels way too close to the roman, yellow and brown showers that we’ve just watched. I mean, if you watched it. I wouldn’t blame you if you looked away.
At the same time, Anna Planeta (Prucnal) and her candy-filled, Karl Marx decorated boat floats through Amsterdam, as the sailor Potemkin gets on board and falls for her. She keeps telling him that she will kill him, but love makes you blind, so in the midst of making love, she follows through. She may have also murdered and definitely abused numerous children — whose bodies line the canal which plays alongside footage of the remains of the Polish Katyn Massacre victims — and is arrested just as the children come back to life.
Francis Ford Coppola liked Makavejev’s directing so much that he wanted him to be the one to create Apocalypse Now. He picked this movie instead, a brutal punch to the stomach of anyone expecting the title of this movie to be lived up to.
In case you’re wondering what you’re getting into, Pier Paolo Pasolini dubbed the Italian dialogue.