"Hate can be enjoyable, it's so close to love but much more exciting. You'll never grow up if you believe in family love."
- Lt. Bernhard Landborg (Heinz Hopf)
Angela, Agba and Adele are three woman from different social backgrounds anxiously waiting to give birth in a seemingly cold uninviting hospital. The story covers their lives, which have continuously overlapped over the years, and what led each of the women to their pending motherhood.
While other countries filmmakers seemed relatively content through the 60's churning out sexy romcoms, thrillers, spy, westerns and sci-fi movies. Sweden was busy making movies about death, existence and in the case of Mia Zetterling's directorial feature debut 'Loving Couples' the darker side of birth, female identity & motherhood.
Zetterling's film is more romanticized and playfully toned and less confrontational than in her later movies (like 'Night Games'& Scrubbers'). But like those it does touch on darker subjects like maternal mortality, child molesting, (and in its day) lesbianism & homosexuality and sham weddings to cover up lone parenthood. Its story and characters slip into period soapy melodrama at times, but never enough ruin it (even for a male viewer like myself). Gio Petré, Harriet Andersson and Gunnel Lindblom all give quality performances, I especially warmed to Anita Björk as spinster Petra.
Visually its extremely rich with impeccable cinematography and production values. Cinematographer Sven Vilhem Nykvist (Fanny and Alexander,Persona and The Unbearable Lightness of Being to name a few) sure knew how to film a picture. Being male I oddly got a huge kick out of the way it projects its male characters as being near superfluous, It made me understand how women feel being portrayed as meat. Not her best film, but its a worthy beginning from a wonderfully talented and slightly overlooked director.
[Personal Reasons For Remembering]
Hmm naked Swedish girls being hosed down. The sumptuous Midsummers Eve party. The wonderful scene the dog gets funky with a bitch, interrupting a finishing girls hymn practice. Lots of great dialog especially from the staunch Doctor Lewin.
Originally taken from Letterboxd