Monday, May 3, 2010
Inga (Jag - en oskuld), Joe Sarno's first film shot in Sweden, is not only one of the directors most popular films but also one of his finest. Released in 1968 to both shocked and receptive filmgoers, Inga remains one of the definitive Joe Sarno productions. Shot in beautiful and crisp Black and White by Bruce G. Sparks and starring the absolutely unforgettable Marie Liljedahl, seen here as the title character in her first starring role, Inga is a breathtaking production that is as poetic as it is erotic and as haunting as it is sensual.
Sarno was already a veteran behind the camera when he headed to Europe in 1967 to shoot what would become the first in quite a few films he made in Sweden, and he immediately took advantage of the more relaxed censorship laws in place for Inga, although viewed by today's standards it is fairly mild stuff. While time might have taken away some of its shock factor, Inga still resonates far deeper than most films dealing with sexual awakening could ever hope to. It's a lovely production highlighted by Sarno's gentle direction and Liljedahl's stunning performance that manages to be both incredibly naive and completely aware. The rest of the cast is just as good, with special note going to Monica Strömmerstedt as Inga's aunt Greta.
Sarno's probing character study is available in a rather splendid special edition from Retro-Seduction cinema and it features two versions of the film, as well as several terrific extras like an audio commentary, outtakes and an audio interview with Liljedahl. While not Sarno's greatest work, it is an ideal entryway into his canon and it remains one of the sixties defining films.