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  Anita CompulsionBuy this film here.
Year: 1973
Director: Torgny Wickman
Stars: Christina Lindberg, Stellan Skarsgård, Danièle Vlaminck, Michel David, Per Mattson, Ewert Granholm, Arne Ragneborn, Jörgen Barwe, Ericka Wickman, Berit Agedal, Jan-Olof Rydqvist, Thore Segelström, Lasse Lundberg
Genre: Drama, Sex
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Anita (Christina Lindberg) is a seventeen-year-old Swedish girl who happens to be a nymphomaniac. This is down to her poor self-esteem, and she is so unhappy that she will ask any man she meets in the town she lives in to have sex with her, even going to the extent of forcing herself on males no matter who they are - and they usually respond eventually. This gives her the reputation of a loose woman in the town, and she becomes a social outcast as she begins to run out of people to have sex with; her parents don't know how to react not wishing to acknowledge it is their lack of love for Anita that has led her to these dire circumstances...

Christina Lindberg was a cult star of the seventies, but only in a certain type of film, and that, due to her willingness to disrobe, was the sexploitation movie. This means she still has a following today, and her films are much sought after, but examples such as Anita showed that she could do more than take her clothes off as she displayed a talent for acting as well. Here, she really makes you feel sorry for her character, a poor soul who may be afflicted with a possibly made-up psychological ailment, but is no less deserving of your sympathy even if this does finally descend into the prurient level that it threatens to throughout.

There's an odd structure to the film which is not immediately apparent, as what is actually happening is that having moved towns after being ostracised, the girl has met a psychology student, Erik (played by Stellan Skarsgård before he hit the big time). It is he who is quizzing her about her past, after taking her under his wing and allowing her to move into the student accomodation where he lives, not entirely to the satisfaction of his fellow boarders who find her interrupting their music practice due to her doleful presence. But Erik perseveres, and soon is getting to the focus of the problem, which is Anita's lack of self worth.

The encounters that she recalls are all seedy and depressing, which will probably be a disappointment to those hoping for a fun romp, indeed the mood is relentlessly downbeat for the larger part of the film. Anita need someone to understand her, and we see her last boyfriend, a kindhearted glass sculptor, was not able to make her feel good enough about herself to truly fall in love with him the way he had with her. She simply didn't think she was worth falling in love with, so moved from one empty sexual experience to the next without making the necessary connection. Yet can Erik be the man who can cure her?

After all that serious contemplation of what the opening credits claim is a true story (believe that if you like), with some genuinely sympathetic attitudes towards a pathetic young woman, there's what can best be described as a change in tone at the sixty minute mark, around about the point where Erik, in his professional capacity informs Anita that what is really driving her on to this sexual hell is her inability to have an orgasm. Here the plot gets into the lurid territory that it previously avoided, and Anita jumps into bed with a female social worker in an attempt to discover if lesbianism is what she has been missing in her life, then gets a job as a stripper. As it turns out, the only man who can truly satisfy her is... well, what do you know? It's Erik! Was that part of his professional advice as well? It's a pity that this gets so silly in the latter stages, as there's an interesting, if not entirely convincing, character study here. Music by Lennart Fors and director Torgny Wickman.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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