Entitled "The Scandinavian Seduction: LOVE - WELFARE - SEX in cinema from the 50s to the 70s", the Retrospective at the 52nd Nordic Film Days Lübeck focuses on a unique tradition in the history of Scandinavian film: the explicit depiction of love and sexuality. Outside Scandinavia, the unprejudiced and realistic portrayal of the relationship between the sexes has been deemed a particular characteristic of Scandinavian cinema since the 1950s and has contributed to Scandinavian films becoming export hits and receiving increased worldwide recognition.
Ground-breaking romantic films such as Ingmar Bergman's "Summer with Monika" (1953) and Arne Mattson's "One Summer of Happiness" (1951) were followed by a wave of sex education and experimental films in the 1960s that took a satirical approach to portraying repressive society, for example "I Am Curious" (1967) by Vilgot Sjöman and "Quiet Days in Clichy" (1969) by Jens Jørgen Thorsen. The 1970s saw the cinematic depiction of love and sexuality often appear in the context of political movements, as in Christian Braad Thomsen's "Dear Irene" (1971). At the same time, shining independent gems such as Gustav Wiklund's "Exposed" (1971) came into being, just waiting to be rediscovered today.
"The cinematic depiction of the intimate in Scandinavian films has always been interlinked with social issues. The rise and fall of the erotic genre was closely connected with the rise and crisis of the welfare state, especially in Denmark and Sweden," says Jörg Schöning, Head of the Retrospective. "At the same time, the reception of these highly successful films outside Scandinavia is closely connected with the outside perception of the political and social conditions in Scandinavian countries."
This year's Retrospective at Nordic Film Days Lübeck examines the reciprocity between societal and film historical development on the basis of selected film classics and thematic foci. Further insight into the topic is granted by a workshop with film excerpts by Jack Stevenson, Danish-based American film archivist and publicist, who recently published the study "Scandinavian Blue: The Erotic Cinema of Sweden and Denmark in the 1960s and 1970s", as well as by a presentation by the Stockholm-based "Klubb Super 88" with producer and film historian Rickard Gramfors and the cult-status actress Christina Lindberg.
Photo: Summer with Monika / Sommaren med Monika, Sweden 1953, directed by Ingmar Bergman / Archive NFL