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NIGHT GAMES (NATTLEK)
SPECTACLE THEATER
Brooklyn, NY
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NIGHT GAMES (NATTLEK)
dir. Mai Zetterling, 1966
Sweden, 105 min.
In Swedish with English Subtitles

Despite decades as an international actress and twenty-odd filmmaking credits, Mai Zetterling remains a short entry in academic encyclopedias and references to feminist cinema. Zetterling identified her filmmaking as characteristically Swedish, describing it as a relentless search for truth through self-analysis perhaps too much. The truths she brings to the screen are those of familial neuroses, powerful women, gay desire, and quests for authentic artistry. Critics of her films have cheered her craft, but complain of a lack of connection to her main characters. That critique does not take a wide view: most of her protagonists are in the grips of powerful memories, experiencing flashbacks and psychic disorientation. This approach to subjectivity erodes the stable identity of the individual, who is vexed and tortured by past experiences, sometimes unable to move on. We are no more distant from these characters as they are from themselves, seeing the truth of their un-sublimated desires.

This movie is a delightfully Swedish version of camp: a self-indulgent heiress houses a coterie of outsiders who party as she gives birth in a gigantic gown. Her son Jan, aged around ten, lounges around the estate and escapes reality through games with a dear old aunt. He tries to lure his mothers affection through cross-dressing and sexual desire. We see these scenes as rich flashbacks: as an adult Jan is trapped in his neuroses and unable to grow up. John Waters said in Film Comment that NATTLEK was one of the first films to feature incredibly realistic vomiting" and it famously caused Shirley Temple to resign from the board of the San Francisco Film Festival.

Location

SPECTACLE THEATER (View)
124 South 3rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249
United States


Categories

None

Kid Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: No

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