The mostly live-action Conspirators of Pleasure, Jan Švankmajer’s follow-up to Faust, is a wordless take on sexual fetishism and fantasy that draws on Freud, de Sade, Buñuel, and Max Ernst. Six characters prepare for a Sunday of elaborate and onanistic sexual shenanigans involving, among other things, bread balls, fresh carp, and a pornographic papier-mâché chicken's head! The ribald, riotous result is a tactile, toe-sucking tour de force of Švankmajerian strangeness and dark humour that must be seen to be believed. "A bizarre fusion of surreal comedy, grotesquerie and psychosexual fantasy ... The film's impressive cartoonish soundtrack combines tumultuous bursts of opera and symphonic music with everyday noises heightened to unnatural extremes" (David Rooney, Variety). “Seriously funny and cheekily subversive. In having its six characters be ordinary people with extraordinary fantasies, the film portrays the erotic impulse of everyday life as a wild, chaotic, antisocial force that lends people their sense of individuality ... Švankmajer is a surrealist visionary” (Stephen Holden, New York Times). Colour, 35mm, no dialogue. 86 mins.
"To describe Conspirators of Pleasure as a live-action cartoon is a little like calling James Joyce's Ulysses a salty Irish yarn."New York Times | full review
"Svankmajer's humour is as black, sly and subversive as ever."Time Out | full review
"An experience best appreciated on the big screen, surrounded by others in the dark."Austin Chronicle | full review