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Lena is alone in the city when her parents are on vacation. She's torn between her innocent boyfriend and the older, more experienced, and sadistic sociopath Helge. She tells Jan about Helge, who gets angry and slaps her, she thereafter runs away and hitchhikes with the promiscuous and friendly couple Lars and Ulla, with whom she goes to Jan's mother's summer cabin. The day after, her boyfriend finds her there and takes her back to the city. Where she yet again is drawn to Helge. Lena's memories, the present and fantasies are frequently mixed. Written by
Plodding film elevated by the beguiling Christina Lindberg
A run-of-the-mill erotic fantasy film (that also owes much of it's narrative charms to Bunuel's classic Belle de Jour (1969)), is elevated by the elfin-like, nubile-innocent beauty of Swedish star Christina Lindberg. Her ethereal Lena, like Catherine Deneuve's Severine, displays an ambiguity in her sense of reality. We are never really sure if her sexual experiences throughout the film are fantasies or not. Lena drifts from Jan (Bjorn Adelly), a mummy's boy, and Helge (Heinz Hopf), a seeming playboy who offers her to friends who hangout at parties at his house.
The direction and cinematography are quite loose, giving it's mis-en- scene an elemental idea of realism. But with this technique, the result has very little suspense or atmosphere. Beginning with Lena taking off from boyfriend, Jan, hitchhiking out to a country house. She is picked up by a couple who go with her, and Lena imagines an encounter with the man of the couple. From here Lena simply goes back and forth between the two men who offer their utter love to her. She seems uninterested in either. We are reminded throughout the film that Helge took some nude photographs of her, and he attempts to blackmail her - something that never really happens, and some humanity suddenly comes from the sullen- seeming Lena, as she demands that she have them and the negatives.
Whilst the film has a reputation for it's depiction of sexuality, and now relatively soft sexual violence, it is rarely shocking. Also, with a very thin plot, it plods along in quite a pedestrian fashion. However, this is not to say that the time spent with this film is certainly no waste of time. Christina Lindberg is incredibly watchable. She radiates beauty, and has an incredible presence. So, with utter beguiled fascination, the film goes from being a two star reward, to a three.
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