Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Lena Nyman in "Jag är Nyfiken - en film i Gult" [1967 Sweden]

Vilgot Sjöman's "Jag är Nyfiken - en film i Gult" [Eng. Title: I Am Curious (Yellow)] is part of a 'duology' if one may call it that. It remains a landmark film in many respects - for the first time we see frank depiction of sexuality in mainstream cinema, and it presents an accurate portrait of changing mores of the swinging sixties. This is also a film within a film, where the main actors including the director Sjöman play themselves. Considered alongside its companion piece an all-time Swedish classic even by Sjöman's mentor Ingmar Bergman, it opened a Pandora's box for future filmmakers to follow. The film understandably raised a furore when first released - not just all over the world but its native Sweden too, it was banned in several countries until recently.

It is however an amazing comedy drama, drawing influence from Nouvelle Vague and New German Cinema, and making some pithy observations of its own about life and politics. Actual politicians are also interviewed in the film - including sitting minister Olof Palme, who would go on to become one of Sweden's famous Prime Ministers.

The film begins like a documentary, with Sjöman establishing the dynamic between him and ambitious drama student and lover Lena Nyman, who persuades him to offer her the leading role for his forthcoming film. He wonders if she is only using him, but we see during the course of the film that is two-way traffic. The film within the film is about a young woman's exploration of her political theories, her freedom, and sexuality. It is outrageously funny, moving at times, momentarily shocking (though not as much as Sjöman's earlier classic, "491"), and also erotic in places. This film has to be seen along side its twin [I Am Curious (Blue)] - so naturally I'll be reviewing that film here next. Both the films may have wrongly earned a poor reputation, but they are filmmaking of the highest calibre - the direction, screenplay, cinematography, and acting are simply superb, and therefore, Highly Recommended Viewing..!

These compilations were made from my excellent DVD that came with both the films, and for the sake of distinguishing scenes from each, I'd taken the liberty of adding a subtle hue - yellow in this case. But rest assured - nothing's sacrificed quality-wise. The colours in the title, if you don't already know, relate to the Swedish national flag.


Compilation 1: Lena Nyman

Lena Nyman in Jag är Nyfiken - en film i Gult

Scene Guide:
  • Lena invites her father's pal Börje to her room, the dad slips out to leave them alone. Börje is not sure whether to follow him or stay with Lena - she decides for him. The scene is also funny as they get to know one other - Lena interviewing her 24th lover in between their various sex sessions, that continue even after her dad's return.
  • It transpires that Börje, apart from being the crown prince, is also already engaged. even fathering a child. A disgusted Lena retreats to the countryside to 'detox' her body and mind.
  • Börje comes looking for Lena - and despite her initial resistance, they pick up from where they left off. We also see Lena's fellatious playfulness towards the end, and director Sjöman who's shooting the scene starts playing with one of his other interns.


Compilation 2: Lena Nyman

Lena Nyman in Jag är Nyfiken - en film i Gult

Scene Guide:
  • Lena shows Börje her thigh muscles atop a tree giving some interesting anecdotes for the reason why women can spread their legs more easily than men - they go on to make love on the tree itself.
  • When Börje is fast asleep, Lena checks out the boot of his car, only to see it is full of memorabilia and presents for his various lovers - she picks up one of the presents - a hair dryer, for herself.
  • Just when they start having sex again, Lena in a fit of jealousy blurts out the name of one of the Börje's lovers, and asks how it was with her - he gives a matter-of-fact reply and continues what he is doing in this erotic scene. They quarrel, and he pokes fun at her body. Nothing wrong with that body, if anybody cares to ask me..!
  • Börje leaves while Lena is asleep.
  • Lena and Börje being examined and 'sanitised' following some suspected sexually transmitted disease.


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