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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

I Am Curious - Blue (1967) d. Vilgot Sjöman

Lena Nyman boobs, from the "lake scene" of I Am Curious - Blue, the 1967 film by Vilgot Sjoman.

Movie Review
I Am Curious - Blue (1967)
d. Vilgot Sjöman
Criterion Collection #181

  It has been well observed that you can attract attention to otherwise boring source material by "sexing up" said boring material.  This approach works in mass market advertising AND art, equally well.  There is no better example of this than the financial success of I Am Curious-Yellow.  I Am Curious Yellow/Blue are companion films.  They are two films covering the same period of time and the same characters.  They are not, as some disgruntled critics claimed at the time, "the same film."  If you watch both films, you can see it is obviously not true that they are in any way "exactly the same."  They are both assembled from the same footage, and they both tell the same story: that of Lena, an inquisitive young Swedish woman who likes banging dudes and socialist politics.

 If you watch both films back-to-back, which is hardly an Olympian feat, since they combine to about three hours in length, it's easy to make out the intent to have the two films fit together jigsaw puzzle like, to create a full narrative of the central story of Lena, and her affair with a carsalesman, with a sub-plot of the real life relationship between Lena and the filmmaker.  All the relationships fall apart and time, and within the running of both films, the scenes alternate between portions of the Lena/car salesman in movie relationship, Lena/actor playing car salesman out of movie relationship, Lena/film director out of movie relationship, Lena/doing socialist junk like interviewing people etc.

 In my opinion, is an interesting but rather failed experiment that fits within the "New Wave" rubric of the late 1960s.  The inclusion of explicit graphic sex and the ensuing courtroom litigation, combined with the actual popularity of the first film in the "art house" milieu in the United States, ensures that I Am Curious will remain in print, but ultimately it is a footnote for every discussion of cinema EXCEPT the legal battle to make 60's era literature "not obscene" in the United States, where it plays a central, nay leading, role.

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