Just Step Sideways: Conspirators of Pleasure

Jan Svankmajer had always dabbled in the perverse in his short films, but his third feature film, Conspirators of Pleasure from 1996 goes full tilt. It’s hilarious, pointed and downright unnerving, even by his own surreal standards.

All of the main preoccupations are present and correct here: bizarre puppetry; food, ritual and the act of creation. But here, the focus is on tactilism, a fetish that’s all about touch and texture.

Starring Barbora Hrzanova as a postal worker who likes doughballs; Petr Meissel as a man with a secret kink close to home, and Anna Wetlinska as TV broadcaster who’s possibly better observed from the desk up, the characters all converge in their shared lusty fetishes.

It’s sex without intercourse, desire minus the obvious signifiers, and is ironically all the more depraved for it. All of the fetishists go to extremes to satisfy their desires and there’s a wonderful paradox inherent here, a juxtaposition of the calm public and eccentric private selves.

Who knew that chicken effigies; dummies, household items and nibbling carp could bring humans to the point of ecstasy? Jan Svankmajer, that’s who. Who else.

Published by loreleiirvine

I'm a freelance arts monkey. Come see my brain vomit.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: