Marie Liljedahl & co in “Jag – en Oskuld” [1968 Sweden]

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Let’s digress a little bit here. “Jag – en Oskuld” [Eng. Title: Inga] is a kind of ‘transitional’ film from the late sixties – a metamorphosis of sorts in cinema that eventually evolved into a new genre called ‘softcore’. While loops and stag films existed long before this one came, it was among of the first crop of films that tried to make those gentlemen’s voyeuristic pass-times a bit more respectable – by inducing some cinematic value. American director (and later to become pornographer of repute) Joseph W. Sarno went all the way to Sweden to create his landmark film using talents from the land of Bergman. He was certainly inspired by Ingmar Bergman and used whatever he had at his disposal to create an erotica that Bergman-lovers might actually sit and watch. But of course Bergman is not just about make-up and lighting – its the composition, design, screenplay and the deep insight into his characters that makes it a unique experience. But leaving that aside, it succeeds as a coming-of-age drama, even if it may not compare to a Salvatore Samperi (“Malizia”, which I may one day also get around to posting). Of course, we’re comparing it with something made five years later, so I’ll give this film a qualified thumbs up despite my awareness of what Sarno’s future projects became. But for curiosity and academic interest, this film is Recommended Viewing..!

Storyline:
The Swedish title literally translates as “I, a virgin”, so we can guess what this is about. After her divorced mother dies, young Inga is invited by widowed maternal aunt Greta to come and live with her. Seventeen, and a book worm brought up in a convent, she initially finds herself out of place in her aunt’s hedonistic circle. But she’s curious and adapts quite naturally to explore her budding sexuality. Greta has a twentyone year old toy-boy Karl, an unpublished writer, who’s with her purely for some spending money. Einar, a friend of Greta’s deceased husband is wealthy and married, but wants to also have Greta as a mistress so that he can stem his habit of running after teenage girls, and is willing to pay a monthly fee for her services. Greta agrees as she could actually use that money to fund her Karl. But once Inga comes to live, Greta notices Einar’s fascination for Inga, and hatches a plan that’ll allow herself more time with Karl

The film is quite tame by today’s standards when it comes to nudity, but then we’re talking about the sixties, when despite the discovery of the morning-after pill, many still held traditional views when it came to sex before marriage – Sweden’s was one of very few societies that tolerated sex and nudity in cinema, where despite the fact that the actress playing the titular role, Marie Liljedahl was barely seventeen, the film apparently did very well at the box office.

My NTSC DVD hasn’t been remastered, but comes with two options – original Swedish with hard English subtitles, or the English dubbed version, and I chose the latter for this compilation. There’s also a commentary in English from Sarno and his wife, but the comments are not specific to the scene we’re watching and therefore a bit pointless. I couldn’t locate any DVD in stock at the time of posting but will insert a link once I locate one. By the way, there’s also a sequel to this which was shot in colour (The Seduction of Inga) and Marie Liljedahl, all of twenty one, struts around naked a lot including a lesbian scene – but the film is sleazy and plain softcore. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was what drove Ms. Liljedahl to give up acting in films altogether.


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