“Anita: Swedish Nymphet” is a 1973 Swedish film, obviously, starring Christina Lindberg and Stellan Skarsgård. The film goes by many titles. The original translated literally has the sub-title: “From a Teenage Girl’s Diary” ; the USA DVD release says: “The Shocking Account of a Young Nymphomaniac”; the “Swedish Nymphet” bit is how it’s mostly known, though.
Well, to hell with titles, because it’s not them that’ll attract anyone to this film. The hook of this saucy work is none other than its titular character, the 17-year old nymphomaniac played by one Christina Lindberg. Being 23 at the time of filming, Christina is a truly fascinating creation. As one IMDb reviewer has noted, I quote: she has the face of an innocent teenage Swedish schoolgirl attached to the body of a voluptuous burlesque-era stripper. I actually thought she was the same age as her character, judging by her face. But then she stripped, and revealed her breasts in all of their magnificent glory, I thought: “No way!” A girl molded like her is probably every young man’s dream, and every old man’s secret dream that must be kept hidden lest they be branded as pedos. Anyway…
Anita… she spends about 80% of her screentime naked. When this came out originally, it had to be censored in the States even though there’s no really explicit scenes.There’s full frontal nudity, short PG-13 sex scenes (if you ignore the boobs, that is), and striptease. This is actually a very funny bit, where Anita and her goody-two-shoes younger sister sing in front of their dad’s important friends (he’s a general or something) while their mother plays the piano. The mother finishes, Anita puts on a record… and gives the men a strip-show, much to their delight and her parents’ utter shock. On top of the nudity – or because of it – everyone thought it was quite a scandalous and rotten piece of cinema back then. Well, not anymore since there’s so much sex on TV nowadays it hardly even goes noticed.
I can’t imagine how this film would look like if it were made today. Because you see, this isn’t some cheap sexploitation flick with cringe-worthy acting and a thin script. In modern cinema, there’s a 95% chance this would’ve been turned in a mockery: a tasteless sex comedy ridden with cock jokes, lame sexual innuendos, an occasional tit-shot, and the most outlandish awkward situations which the characters would be put through. You know, “American Pie”?
But, no. “Anita” is quite serious. It’s a story about a girl with an actual problem who needs help, and strangely – it never feels exploitation-y. Well, maybe just a little… What I want to say is, this is not a comedy; it’s a drama, with a few comedic situations, following Anita’s struggle with her compulsive sexual urges.
She has it rough, the poor girl, because she’s shunned by society. This is the most comical part of the film, probably unintentionally. Like, wherever Anita goes people are pointing their fingers, “There goes the slut!”, “Look at the skank!” and so on. Guys even ask her sister, “Why did you bring Anita with you? She’s a sex maniac!” I mean, yeah… sure. What guy wouldn’t turn away from a beautiful teenage girl that’s just dying to have sex with him? Am I right? But of course I am. Joking aside, I wasn’t alive in 1973’s Sweden, so maybe guys then really didn’t like a beautiful teenage girl that was just dying to have sex with them.
To help her overcome her illness is a young psychology student Erik, played by Skarsgård. He also has it tough, the unfortunate bloke. Whatever male Anita engages in sex, she doesn’t want to see ever again. No exception! And Erik is in love with her, so he doesn’t want that to happen – but he still wants to sleep with her. Ugh, vexing conundrum! What he has to do is resist her very direct approaches until he somehow cures her, so he can be with her properly – i.e. in a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. Ultimately, he succeeds, but I can’t really tell you how he did it. Must be some psychology trick I didn’t understand…
The trouble with this film is, it started to get boring around the 45-minute mark, halfway through. Why? Because nothing really happens. It’s three stages that repeat cyclically: 1) Anita has sex with someone, 2) she feels guilty and ashamed, and 3) Erik comforts her and “psychoanalyzes” her. Then, 1, 2 & 3 are repeated throughout, until one day she’s miraculously cured. The couple gets together. The (happy) end.
So, uh… yeah. See it out of curiosity, perhaps. But it’s definitely not an essential piece of world cinema.
P. S. Also check Jaded Viewer’s hilarious review! It’s how I came to know about the film in the first place.