Mai Zetterling: Loving Couples

Mai Zetterling · 1964
118min · DCP

Adapted from a seven-novel cycle by Agnes von Krusenstjerna, Mai Zetterling’s debut directorial feature is as bold and provocative as its source material. Set on the eve of World War I, LOVING COUPLES depicts the divergent social, romantic, and familial pressures that lead three women whose stories are intertwined (Harriet Andersson, Gunnel Lindblom, and Gio Petré) to pregnancy. Though contributions from legendary cinematographer Sven Nykvist as well as Ingmar Bergman cast regulars Andersson, Lindblom, and Gunnar Björnstrand evoke Bergman’s work, Zetterling evinces a confidently distinct vision in her investigation of the complexities—and illusions—of marriage, childbirth, gender, and sexuality. New DCP restoration courtesy Swedish Film Institute and Janus Films.

“One of the most ambitious debuts since Citizen Kane” Kenneth Tynan

Loving Couples has several startlingly explicit scenes—a panorama of aberrations; an on-screen birth; and, for those bored with sex by human beings, sex by a pair of terriers. Miss Zetterling feels she has limited the sex to what supports the story.” Joanne Stang

“In Loving Couples, World War I looms beyond the horizon (Sweden did not participate in either of the world wars), and in the dialogue, marriage is explicitly connected to warfare. War and marriage teach people to hate each other, says Isa Landborg (Eva Dahlbeck) at one point in the film and when Dora Macson’s husband (Toivo Pawlo) talks about the sound of machine-gun fire, she reflects that it sounds just like home.” Mariah Larsson, A Cinema of Obsession: The Life and Work of Mai Zetterling

Part of Directed by Mai Zetterling, four new restorations by the Swedish actor and director, famed for her collaborations with Ingmar Bergman, Nicolas Roeg, and Ken Loach. Co-presented with the National Nordic Museum.