Monday, 22 August 2016

I Am Curious (Blue) - Vilgot Sjoman

I AM CURIOUS (BLUE) - VILGOT SJOMAN

The good thing about this book is that it exists at all. I mean, who would be interested in a paperback of the complete screenplay along with accompanying photos of an obscure Swedish art- house movie made in 1970?

Me!


I Am Curious (Blue) by Vilgot Sjoman sets itself an impossible task, really; so is it on a hiding to nothing? I think it might be. Trying to make some sense of and pin down in black and white a film that intentionally doesn't make a lot of sense in the normal filmic meaning of the word is like trying to square a circle. But then again, I'm not actually sure if this book is even meant to be read? It seems to me to be more of a curiosity item. A paperback for the coffee table.

To the uninitiated, at first glance it might appear to be a movie tie-in for a Seventies Swedish sex film but of course, it's nothing of the sort. The 'blue' in the title refers to the blue in the Swedish flag in the same way as the 'yellow' in Vilgot Sjoman's other film, I Am Curious (Yellow), referred to the yellow in the same flag. The same idea was used years later by director Krzysztof Kieslowski in his Three Colours trilogy of films (Blue, White, and Red) denoting the colours of the French flag.
Actually, Vilgot Sjoman has a lot in common with that other great film director, Jean-Luc Godard, as in his use of disjointed narratives, existential inserts and intrusions, voice-overs, experimentation, and importantly, a political point.

I Am Curious (Blue) is about a film being made of a film about a girl questioning Swedish society; its class structure, the relationship between Church and State, social democracy, prison (non)reform, and sexual attitudes. It doesn't really offer any answers or potential solutions to the social problems it highlights but instead throws everything into question, which at the time when the film was made and the book published was probably enough.
Nowadays the film and this book stands as little more than curiosity pieces and as an ode to cinema as an instrument for social change. This is still, however, more that can be said of others and for this reason gives them a value as historical documents if nothing else.
John Serpico.

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