On the world stage, Swedish cinema remains one of the most difficult to comprehend. At each turn, just when you think you have gotten it figured out, it takes a right turn and you lose it in a haze of expectations. Throughout its history, Swedish film has defied classification and genre labeling. It is best known as the home country of Greta Garbo, Ingrid Bergman and Ingmar Bergman. However, it is the same country that produced the number 1 pin up of Vietnam, Christina Lindberg. The last number of years we have also witnessed the rise of the hardboiled detective fiction that has bled through the pages of successful novels by Jo Nesbo and onto Henning Mankell and onto cinema screens. Again, I say Sweden’s cinema remains difficult to comprehend.
Woody Allen idolized Ingmar Bergman to such an extent Allen’s 1980 film Stardust Memories was a blatant homage to the Swedish director.
Ingmar Bergman: Genius of Swedish Cinema
Ingmar Bergman remains the standard bearer of not only the Swedish cinema but the world’s as well. His films lie somewhere between kitchen sink potboiler and horror film. Bergman would spend his entire career in Sweden, alternating between his two greatest loves – cinema and the stage. He would shoot small intensely personal films, many faintly autobiographical.
In spite of his international fame, Bergman would only use a small coterie of actors –
,”Bergman directed over sixty films and documentaries for cinematic release and for television screenings, most of which he also wrote. He also directed over 170 plays. He eventually forged a creative partnership with his cinematographers Gunnar Fischer and Sven Nykvist. Among his company of actors were Harriet and Bibi Andersson, Liv Ullmann, Gunnar Björnstrand, Erland Josephson, Ingrid Thulin, and Max von Sydow. Most of his films were set in Sweden, and many films from Through a Glass Darkly (1961) onward were filmed on the island of Fårö.”
Lena Nyman – Bare Breasts and American Law
This was what sparked the biggest censorship fight in American cinema history. Lena Nyman would become a symbol of the sexual revolution.
Bergman would have many disciples among the denizens of the film world. One of the most notorious among them was fellow Swede Vilgot Sjoman. His 1968 film I Am Curious (Yellow) & (Blue). Starring Lena Nyman, who whispers say was Sjoman’s lover, I Am Curious would be banned upon arrival in the United States. Sjoman’s film would do battle with the US government all the way to the Supreme Court.
The already popular film grew bigger, leaving the somewhat overweight actress the scrutiny of the public. Therefore. Nyman and her body would be at the center of the long debated question “but is it art?”
Roger Ebert would weigh in –
“(…)there’s also a pudgy girl with an unpleasant laugh (she thinks she’s so cute). And a boy who looks like Archie rolled into Jughead. They do not exactly talk about current political and social problems, but they recite words associated with them. You can hear words like class structure, labor union, Vietnam, racism, Franco, non-violence and, of course, the Bomb.
Christina Lindberg would have a nude scene in every movie she was in.
From the mythical lyrism of Bergman to the provocative social dissection of Sweden in the late 1960s; when the world was ablaze with Vietnam; to model turned actress Christina Lindberg. Born in 1950, Lindberg would begin modelling at the age of 18. She would go on to do nude modeling as well become #1 pinup among the soldiers in Vietnam.
The well-endowed Swede would make the jump to acting while continuing her modeling.
As the myth goes, Swedes hold pervasive views on sex and nudity. When we dip into the lower strands of Swedish cinema, we find that the myth is no myth. Christina Lindberg would lead the way starring in such notorious skin-flicks as Thriller: A Cruel Picture, Sex & Fury, and Exponerad.