Night Games. Mai Zetterling. 1966. ⚃
I don’t think the plot recap at imdb can be improved upon :
Jan (Keve Hjelm) grooved up in an over class environment and with a strong attachment to his egocentric and cold-hearted mother Irene (Ingrid Thulin).
I mean, that’s just perfection.
[twenty minutes pass]
Wow, this is something else. I had expected more Bergmanesque stuff after Zetterling’s first movie, but this is definitely not that.
The first wild scenes made me think of Pasolini, and not the fun Pasolini, but this movie is made almost a decade before Pasolini’s stuff? So it’s… Fellini, but as nightmare. Kinda.
So I had to pause the movie just to Google “well what did people at the time think”:
The film premiered at the 27th Venice International Film Festival where it was considered so controversial that it was shown to the jury in private. The film was also the cause of former child-star Shirley Temple’s resignation from the San Francisco International Film Festival. Temple denounced the film as “pornography for profit” and was against it being shown at the festival.
The cinematography is very striking, and the way it glides between the present and the past is masterful.
[forty minutes pass]
Well! This must have been challenging for the actors… I don’t think anybody would have shot anything like this today. I almost understand Shirley Temple.
It’s so ahead of its time. But it’s hard to really like: It’s set in such a creepy milieu… It’s like “yes, being super-duper incredibly rich sure is hard”…
I don’t know. I’m also super drunk.
Anyway, the performances are incredible. Lena Brundin in particular, but just about everybody… except the lead, who’s a bit of a non-entity (Keve Hjelm). And… Oh! Yeah! Naima Wifstrand as the batty aunt! Fantastic!
And the cinematography! Amazeballs!
It’s a unique movie, but I’m not sure it’s something I’d recommend watching.