As part of our film program in July 2021 we aim to celebrate one of the most unappreciated talents to emerge from a thriving, mid-century Swedish film industry, and her empowering transition from acting to directing. Mai Zetterling directed very progressive films for her time and often depicted taboos that are still relevant today, such as female objectification, reproductive rights, and sexual misconduct.
After a working-class upbringing, including growing up for a few years in Australia, Mai Zetterling carved out an unexpected acting career as a movie star and as a stage performer. By transitioning from acting to directing, Mai Zetterling reclaimed power. Of being an actress, she said, “showing my legs and my cleavage, I had been no threat at all: men could fantasise about me”. When she became a director, that changed. Mai Zetterling is a feminist champion. Her feminist films in the 1960s were ahead of sweeping change as the second wave of feminism gathered momentum. Our program shines a spotlight on a strong female voice from the 1960s and asks at a relevant time in contemporary society why Mai Zetterling is not more widely recognised. When many people think of Swedish cinema, Ingmar Bergman will come to mind, but at the height of his career, another director was directing a fresh crop of films, sometimes banned, frequently ignored, often undervalued, that heralded a new wave of feminism.
Film titles will include (subject to change):
- The War Game, dir. Mai Zetterling, UK
- Loving Couples (aka Älskande par), dir. Mai Zetterling, Sweden
- Night Games (aka Nattlek), dir. Mai Zetterling, Sweden
- Dr Glas, dir Mai Zetterling, Sweden & Denmark
- The Girls (aka Flickorna), dir. Mai Zetterling, Sweden
- Scrubbers, dir, Mai Zetterling, UK
- Amorosa, dir. Mai Zetterling, Sweden
Location: ACMI Cinemas, Fed Square, Melbourne Background