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dir. Mai Zetterling, 1986.
Sweden, 117 min.

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 is the second of Zetterlings films concerning the life and work of Agnes von Krusenstjerna, the first being 1964's LOVING COUPLES. Krusenstjerna is a Swedish noblewoman who published daring books of literature in the 1920s. It is a biopic portrait, showing first her descent into hysteria in a strange Italian hospital and going back through the events in her life that led to this point. Some stylistic elements of this film are tacky, however the story surges on the strength of Stina Ekblad as an actor. The portrayal of a writer resisting the expectations of noble life is beautifully expressed, and her descent into madness is both tragic and revulsive.


124 South 3rd Street
Brooklyn, NY 11249
United States



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


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