Friday, January 15, 2016

2016 movie viewings #4: WR: Mysteries of the Organism.

2016 movie viewings, #4: WR: Mysteries of the Organism. THREE STARS. When I first added this to my queue I thought it was a traditional documentary about Wilhelm Reich, the influential but ultimately nutjob psychology innovator of the early 20th century. But this turned out to be a lot different than that; shot in 1971, it's not exactly a documentary, but a documentary-style look at the small New England town where Reich set up his operations after World War Two, but then is cut together with what can only be called a pornographic communist propaganda film, shot in Soviet Yugoslavia with all Serbian dialogue, which is then itself cut together with random shots of hippies walking down sidewalks in New York City acting deliberately outrageous, which is then topped with a few minutes of interviews with such famous '70s San Francisco "sex artists" as Cynthia Plastercaster and Betty Tompkins. Utterly worthless as a traditional film, and you owe it to yourself to be aware of that before renting it; but as a historical document of the early 1970s it's AMAZING, an indispensable look at the most radical fringe of the countercultural era, one that gives a much better understanding of why people back then were so tolerant of such dangerous quackery as encounter groups and other such "let your freak flag fly" psuedo-science.

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