Conspirators of Pleasure.

The Post Women...


Until the middle of 2011 Conspirators of Pleasure(1996), directed by Czech surrealist and animator Jan Svankmajer, was not available in the UK. Now thanks to New Wave Films it has been released as part of a three-film box set available singularly for rent via Love Film. The film combines live action with the use of both classical animation of a rag mannequin and a rag doll. There’s no dialogue only background music. This is another of my much admired black comedies which have recently included my film of the year Holy Motors (2012), Kaurismakie’s Calamari Union (1985), God Bless America (2011), the Norwegian crime thriller Jackpot (2011) and of course the UK’s very own Sightseers (2012). This time it’s about people governed only by the pleasure principle, in Svankmajer own words, ‘a film about freedom’.

Mr Pivonka and ...
Mrs Loubalova...

The central motif of the film is the sado masochistic relationship between Mr. Pivonka and Mrs. Loubalova. This relationship, realised by means of magic and with the help of a kind of grotesque ritual voodoo, is coupled with the stories of minor characters including a post women, a television newsreader, a newsagent and a police office.  All kindred spirits that are connected through their obsession with pleasure/desire/freedom.

The Police Officer...

Influenced by the writings of the Marquis de Sade it has a theme that has been borrowed from Sigmund Freud. Freud said that in each of us there is a permanent conflict between the pleasure principle (which is anti social, non conformist, and drives us to pursue our desire and freedom, ignoring social scruples) and the reality principle (which is the moralising, limiting, leveling repression brought by society, upbringing and school). According to Freud, healthy psychological development requires a balance between these two principles. Clearly the characters in this film are dominated by the pleasure principle!

The Newsagent....

Its certainly not your standard film and indeed not for everyone, not so much a film about sex, as a film about human nature which manifests it self in various sexual pleasures. Unusually an erotic film that manages without scenes of sexual intercourse! Some wonderfully lewd 18th century pornographic drawings are used as opening credits introducing something that completely unconventional, but extremely entertaining.

and the television Newsreader.