Conspirators of Pleasure
Jun 18, 2012
(Jan Svankmajer, Czech Republic, 1996, 35mm, 87 min)
When a film’s credits thank for their “professional expertise” Sigmund Freud and the Marquis de Sade, you can bet that questions of sexual repression are going to be on the table. But the asking is refreshing and open-ended in Svankmajer’s Conspirators of Pleasure, which employs neither nudity nor sexual intercourse nor dialogue in its exploration of six “normal” citizens. Though they all know each other, each is immersed in his or her own “secret” fantasy. As the film gallops down parallel storylines, it remembers to ask: what would our sexualities look like if shame were not imposed upon us? Are the skeletons in our closets different, or do they end up mimicking each other? Jan Svankmajer’s first live action feature has also been called his most visually surreal, and will leave you not titillated—not alarmed—but spellbound.
Our Jan Svankmajer series is sponsored by the Center for Czech Education and Culture.