Saturday, March 19, 2011
An enormously entertaining and extremely informative book on an often-overlooked film movement, Swedish Sensationsfilms: A Clandestine History of Sex, Thrillers and Kicker Cinema is one of the first must-have books on film from this young decade. Written with a real love for the subject by Swedish born Daniel Ekeroth, Swedish Sensationsfilms will prove to be 300 pages of pure joy for fans who hold names like Christina Lindberg, Bo A. Vibenius and Gio Petre already in the highest of esteem, as well as film-buffs on the lookout for a group of films that very well might have alluded them up till now.
Kicking off with a terrifically engaging and humorous introduction by Ekeroth, writing from his Stockholm summer home, Swedish Sensationsfilms is a breezy and compulsively readable book that is hard to put down once it’s cracked open. Setting his book up like an encyclopedia, with each page highlighting a film, Ekeroth does an excellent job throughout providing background information, as well as a critical reaction, to the well over two hundred films. Like the wondrous Tohill and Tombs work Immoral Tales from the mid-nineties, Swedish Sensationsfilms sets its sights on paying tribute to a group of actors, films and filmmakers that have been vastly under-discussed up till now. Groundbreaking films ranging from Mac Ahlberg’s I, A Woman series to Vibenius’ astonishing Breaking Point are covered, as well as the legendary Swedish-shot productions of New York director Joe Sarno. Ekeroth also delves into ultra-obscure works like Calvin Floyd’s Dracula and Frankenstein productions and Arne Mattsson’s The Wax Doll. In other words, Ekeroth’s book is jammed with one discovery to be made after another, and I can’t imagine anyone reading Swedish Sensationsfilms who won’t come away with a major itch to track down many of the films within its well-illustrated pages.
While the main portion of the book is made up of Ekeroth’s film reviews, there are some glorious supplements as well, including a “Glossary of Curious Swedish Culture”, a biographical “Rogues Gallery” and Ekeroth’s own twenty essential films from the book to track down. Best of all is a beautiful interview with Swedish Sensationsfilms greatest icon Christina Lindberg, who sums up the spirit of the book when she says, “I look back with genuine joy…I would never deny being in those movies…I just had a blast.”
Published by Bazillion Points, and featuring an excellent English translation by Magnus Henriksson, Swedish Sensationsfilms: A Clandestine History of Sex, Thrillers and Kicker Cinema can be pre-ordered from its official publishing site or Amazon. I highly recommend it for fans of Swedish Cinema (and yes, Ingmar Bergman is featured as well) or just exploratory cinema-buffs in general who are hungry for something different and more daring than anything playing at their local multiplex.