Orgia (1968)

Genres - Avant-garde / Experimental  |   Run Time - 12 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Willard Maas' Orgia is a filmed orgy that was originally designed as part of a longer film which had St. Teresa of Avila as its subject; this was the only part of Maas' script that was completed. Willard Maas plays the devil, and hands out masks to the audience, who put them on and act out a huge orgy in the living room. In the bathroom, a "fantastic drag queen" holds court. Orgia was made around 1964, but it wasn't completed or shown until 1968. At the time that it opened, filmmaker and critic Jonas Mekas wrote in The Village Voice that "Maas wears a laughing clown mask. At one moment he takes it off...and if there ever was a sad face, it is the face that comes out from under this laughing mask in Orgia." Indeed, Orgia was the final instance in which Willard Maas attempted to apply himself to the poetic film genre he'd helped create, and its failure to get beyond this 12-minute fragment proved devastating to him. Mekas, however, saw something different in it: "It is a complete thing as it is. The only other film that comes to mind that has the same feeling and power is Limelight."