Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Anita: Swedish Nymphet [1973]

Every so often I rent something thinking it will be one thing – and it turns out to be something else entirely. I rented Anita because it was a Christina Lindberg film – and I’ve enjoyed her other movies. This one sounded like it was another one of her typical films where there’s little plot and a lot of nudity. Well, nudity this film certainly has a lot of – but when it comes to a plot – wow.

Anita (played by Christina Lindberg) is a 17-year old nymphomaniac in a small town outside of Stockholm. She’s notorious throughout the town – to the point where she’s mocked by her peers, used by the men in town and a disgrace to her parents. She hops a train to Stockholm one day as the police were looking for her and to have a fresh set of new men to go after. This is where she meets Erik (played by Stellan Skaarsgard) who runs into her as he’s chasing after someone – and he takes her in to mend her scrapped up knee. Erik identifies that she has a serious problem – and tries to talk her through her issues. Erik eventually falls in love with her – which causes a problem since Anita is stuck in the power struggle of her illness – and Erik doesn’t want to be a guy she uses once and then discards.

What I loved about this movie was the level of depth it delves into with her illness. They don’t glorify it – they treat it like she’s really sick. The nudity and sex becomes unsexy pretty quickly – and soon you are pleading with Anita to stop herself. They explored Anita’s family life - which was at the cause for her worthless feelings about herself and thus caused her nymphomania – with a series of flashbacks.

As a matter of fact – the story flowed from flashback to present time for more than half the beginning of the film. This really helped balance what she was doing and the possible inner monologue that was happening at the time. No scene went too long or with out a future explanation. The story set-up and execution on that level was mind blowing – it’s the kind of stuff major motion picture companies still can’t get right these days.

Christina Lindberg did an AMAZING job in her performance. She’s always felt like she was disconnected from her characters – but in Anita her hesitation as an actress really helped in her performance. Though I hesitate to say that it was the same type of performance that I’m used to seeing. You really felt - when she was desperately searching for a guy – that addiction. You really felt – when she was lying on the couch crying – that repentance for what she did.

The story between Anita and Erik really played out quite well. Erik you felt was more concerned for Anita’s well being than anyone was in the entire film. He brought her in to his house of music students (it was unclear if he was a psych student or a music instructor) – but he tried to have everyone show understanding for Anita – and figure out how he could best help work her through her issues. He did it in such a way that it kind of worked itself into the story – you didn’t feel like he was sitting on a distant chair taking notes – he was there with her in the trenches of her mind.

Probably the only thing that bothered me about this movie – was once Anita was “cured” – Erik and Anita finally got to be ‘together’ – but Erik moved way too quick to touch her breasts (though I can’t blame him) – but that seemed inappropriate for the mood that was set for that scene. Erik even commented that he wanted to dive in – but felt like he should have all the restraint in the world. I felt that the scene could’ve even just been the two of them lying in bed fully clothed – and it would’ve felt more complete.

The Image DVD release of Anita – is on a flat horrible print. There’s probably nothing they can do about the film stock – they certainly aren’t going to bring it in for a full scrubbing considering it’s a Swedish cult film and they won’t make their money back – but it would’ve been nice.

Ultimately, this is a very well made love story. And even though the cover makes it look like you are about to watch something very dirty – it’s got more heart and depth to it than most films.

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