I Am Curious (Yellow)

"Good"

I Am Curious (Yellow) Review


After having heard so much about the provocative sexuality of the Swedish film I Am Curious (Yellow), which was seized by U.S. Customs agents under obscenity charges in 1968, I started watching it with considerable expectations. I sat down ready to be inundated with offensive scenes and instead what I got was political talk -- and lots of it!

For well over 35 minutes the film gives us the story of a young Swedish woman named Lena (Lena Nyman) coming of age in a politically aware time period. And by the way, she happens to be sexually active too, so at the 38 minute mark the woman and her new boyfriend (Börje Ahlstedt) take each other's clothes off. Finally, I thought the film is going to deliver. But since the scene is fairly innocent - it would most likely pass PG-13 today - I figured this must be just a warm-up.

Then the supposedly offensive scene came. At one hour and 17 minutes, after some more political talk and a few moments of personal discovery by our young heroine, we get a partially frontal nude male shot and the young woman caressing and kissing his private parts. This scene - a bit of an eye opener by the standards of the era - is the infamous three second shot that went all the way to the Supreme Court.

I Am Curious (Yellow) was the first major film to show completely nude characters and in some corners that was considered in bad taste. But it seems to me that part of the reason the film was considered offensive was because of its leftist politics. Anyway you look at it the controversy help propel the film into the box office stratosphere. In 1968 it made $20 million and it is still currently the sixth highest grossing foreign language film of all time.

I Am Curious (Yellow) is indeed a curious film. The basic thread from start to finish is that it is a movie about the making of a movie about a young woman coming of age. As directed by Vilgot Sjoman, it is a self-conscious documentary/fictional film that throws out a lot of personal and political ideas without clinging to any one of them.

At once humorously annoying, politically dynamic, and clever the film is a reasonably enjoyable two hours. Overall though - for you expecting to see the Swedish version of 9 1/2 Weeks - (Yellow) is a lot more cerebral than sexual. This is all the more ironic since the film, which won its day in court, ultimately cleared the way for Deep Throat and other such sex films of the 1970s.

The Criterion Collection DVD has all kinds of extras - including documentaries and interviews - which give us a thorough background on the controversy surrounding the film as well as the film's meaning and significance. There is also a second disc featuring the follow up film titled I Am Curious (Blue), which is - by the director's own admission - essentially the same film (with the same actors) only with different scenes.

Aka Jag är nyfiken - en film i gult.



I Am Curious (Yellow)

Facts and Figures

Run time: 121 mins

In Theaters: Monday 10th March 1969

Production compaines: Sandrews

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 52%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 12

IMDB: 6.1 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Vilgot Sjöman

Producer: Göran Lindgren

Starring: as Anna Lena Lisabet Nyman / Lena, Vilgot Sjöman as Vilgot Sjöman, Börje Ahlstedt as Börje, Lena's boyfriend, as Lena's Father, Chris Wahlström as Rune's Woman, Magnus Nilsson as Magnus, Lena's school friend, Ulla Lyttkens as Ulla, Lena's friend, Marie Göranzon as Marie, Börje's mistress, as Captain (uncredited)

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