Saturday, March 20, 2010

Uden en traevl

Ilman rihmankiertämää / Utan en tråd / Without a Stitch. DK 1968. PC: Palladium Film. P: John Hilbard. D: Annelise Meineche. SC: John Hilbard, Annelise Meineche - based on the novel by Jens Bjørneboe. DP: Aage Wilturp. AD: Otto Lund, Herbi Gärtner, Willy Berg Hansen. Make-up: Aase Tarp. Cost: Berit Nykjaer. M: Ole Høyer. S: John Bury. ED: Edith Schlüssel. Cast: Anne Grete Nissen (Lillian), Ib Mossen (Dr. Petersen), Niels Borksand (Henry), Ki-Jo Feza (Britta), Niels Dybeck (Göran, film-maker), Åke Engfeldt (Bengt), Leif Barney Fick (Heini), John Martinus (Jon), Søren Carlsbaek (Åke), Joan Gamst (Lise, student of architecture), Søren Strømberg (count Jan), Dieter Eppler (Kurt von Aschbach), Dale Robinson (Freddy, the British art historian), Preben Ottesen (Antonio, the Italian), Jean Kress (Pierre). 98 min. A Jack Stevenson print of the U.S. Jack Harris release version with English subtitles viewed at Cinema Orion (Cinema and Sexuality), Helsinki, 20 March 2010.

A vintage print of the complete version (very slight cuts due to wear and tear) with colour faded to red.

The diary of a female patient: the 18-year-old graduate girl Lillian suffers from modesty and frigidity (she is incapable of receiving an orgasm). The doctor-gynecologist-researcher Petersen helps her overcome her inhibitions. He warns her of false modesty. She has had a willing date with Henry, a boy schoolmate, but refused intercourse (she wanted it but could not do it). During a field trip Lillian has been denounced as frigid by her schoolmates. So she embarks on an odyssey of sexual self-discovery with Lesbianism with a schoolmate, the doctor caressing her to a climax, and, hitch-hiking in Europe after the graduation, an affair with a Swedish "gladporr" porn film director, a threesome with a Lesbian architecture student and count Jan, witnessing female mud wrestling and shop-window whores at the Reeperbahn, a night with a rich sado-masochistic German gentleman, a threesome with a British homo-bisexual art historian and the Italian Antonio, sex in a Citroën van at the Champs-Elysées. On the flight back home, elegantly dressed, a more grown-up young woman now, she sees Henry again.

The story of a young woman's self-discovery was simplified to a sex film to the dismay of the author of the book. Certainly in every city we see Lillian buy copies of classic books and read them, and she is fluent in every language, including German, Italian, and French.

As it is, the film has memorable sequences: for instance, the porn film sequence, the subsequent café sequence with a lively ambience, and the dance sequence with the architecture studying woman and Søren Strømberg.

There is a fairytale atmosphere in the film which had a big success in the mainstream cinemas of the U.S.A. Nothing can hurt Lillian, not even the whipping of the sadist, and the final image is of a huge drawn friendly heart.

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