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Conspirators of Pleasure

Spiklenci slasti

avankmajer’s third feature film tells the interlocking stories of five conspirators who plan to release their desires ‘on Sunday’. In preparation, a postwoman secretly purchases loaves of bread, a police inspector buys kitchen implements with a manic intensity, another constructs a masturbation machine, and Mr Pivonka and Mrs Loubalova make effigies of each other. Mr Pivonka also buys pornographic magazines, using them to construct a papier-mâche chicken head, covering it with feathers. With the help of umbrellas, he is able to convert himself into a puppet, or at least a half-puppet cockereloan explicit tribute to Max Ernst’s alter ego, the Loplop bird. The film’s rehearsal of surrealist themes is acknowledged by avankmajer’s ironic list of ‘technical consultants’oLuis Buñuel, Dali, Freud, and de Sade among others. Sadistic, masochistic, and auto-erotic gratification take precedence over human relations in ways that are both interchangeable and repetitive. The director’s sarcastic humour combines with images that are frequently disturbing, with his rag-doll puppets appearing as grotesque and pathetic victims. While Conspirators of Pleasure is his most explicit tribute to familiar surrealist themes, it also offers a sharp criticism of the new consumer society.
Czech Republic-Switzerland-U.K., 1996. English subtitles. Colour. Dolby stereo. 75 mins.

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