Swedish Cinema and the Sexual Revolution

Critical Essays

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About the Book

Swedish cinema became recognized for daring representations of sexuality with such films as One Summer of Happiness (1951), The Silence (1963), I Am Curious (Yellow) (1967) and a wave of sex films in the late 1960s and 1970s. The association between Swedish film and sexuality shows up frequently in popular culture. From Taxi Driver (1976) to Mad Men (2007–2015), dirty Swedish movie references abound. Yet the connection has attracted little critical attention.
In this collection of new essays, Swedish and American scholars go beyond popular misconceptions to explore the origins, influences and reception of sexuality in Swedish cinema during the “sexual revolution” on both sides of the Atlantic. A broad range of topics are covered, from analyses of key films, to a behind-the-scenes study of the Swedish Film Institute, which played a significant role in opposing Swedish film censorship.

About the Author(s)

Elisabet Björklund is a senior lecturer in film studies at Linnaeus University in Växjö.
Mariah Larsson has taught sexuality studies at Malmö University and is a senior lecturer in film studies at Linnaeus University.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Elisabet Björklund and Mariah Larsson
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 248
Bibliographic Info: 17 photos, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6544-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2501-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments (Elisabet Björklund and Mariah Larsson) vii

Introduction: Beyond Swedish Summers (Elisabet Björklund and Mariah Larsson) 1

I. Summertime Sensuality

The Story of a Bad Girl! Summer with Monika, Sexploitation and the

Selling of Erotic Bergman in America (Arne Lunde) 11

It Started with a Kiss: Sexuality and Swedish Film in 1951 (Anders Marklund) 21

II. Art, Sexploitation and Pornography

Pillow Talk, Swedish Style: To Love (Anu Koivunen) 37

Her Body, His Self: Authorship and Gender in I Am Curious (Yellow)

and I Am Curious (Blue) (Anders Wilhelm Åberg) 49

Ann and Eve: A Filmmaker Strikes Back (Bengt Bengtsson) 61

A Porn of One’s Own? ­Anne-Marie Berglund and Weekend in Stockholm (Mariah Larsson) 74

Come and Blow the Horn: Sound, Sex and Cultural Heritage (Mats Björkin) 86

III. Obscenity and Censorship

The Open Secret: Illegal Screenings of Pornographic Films for Public

Audiences in Sweden, 1921–1943 (Tommy Gustafsson) 101

491 and the Censorship Controversy (Lena Lennerhed) 116

The Limits of Sexual Depictions in the Late 1960s (Elisabet Björklund) 126

IV. The Institutionalization of Sex in Sweden

Institutionalized Sexploitation? The Swedish Film Institute and Research on the Effects of Cinema in the 1960s (Per Vesterlund) 141

P(owe)R, Sex and Mad Men Swedish Style—Or How the Personal Can Become the Political (Maaret Koskinen) 153

Egrets in the Porno Swamp: The Swedish Film Institute and Swedish Sin (Lars Diurlin) 168

V. The American Reception of Swedish Sin

Illegally Blonde: Swedish Sin and Pornography in U.S. and Swedish

Imaginations, 1955–1971 (Klara Arnberg and Carl Marklund) 185

A Modicum of Social Value? The Critical and Legal Discussion of

I Am Curious (Yellow) in America (Ulf Jonas Björk) 201

Many of Your Finer Nudie Films: Saga Film, Swedish National Cinema

and Seventies Transnational Erotic Film (Kevin Heffernan) 216

About the Contributors 233

Index 235