Reviews

Reviews

I am Curious – Yellow

I am Curious – Yellow

Jag Är Nyfiken – Gul

Vilgot Sjöman

Sweden, 1967

Credits

Review by Rumsey Taylor

Posted on 11 July 2004

Source The Criterion Collection DVD

I am Curious – Yellow is told in varying fiction and reality. The title credits commence with a shot of the façade of the film’s production office, supplanting a title logo. Lena Nyman, as herself, is in an elevator with Sjöman, as himself. Furthering the film’s literal stance, the title credit appears (I am Curious) and a female passerby responds, “But I’m not!”

The joke is that Sjöman’s film is about his film; he films himself filming his actors. There are large passages where this self-reference is absent, and they are interrupted at whim by Sjöman’s call, “Cut!” The intermingling of fact and fiction is an ineffective aesthetic tactic that introduces an unnecessary aspect. The film may rely on its politics alone.

Lena is determined to acknowledge the Swedish public’s perception of the state of Swedish socialism. In an introductory series of interviews (similar interviews — all real — comprise the majority of Yellow and its companion piece Blue) Lena asks, “Is there a class system in Sweden?” Her targets are clearly members of the working class, and answers are generally mixed. She targets more lucrative members of the social strata and welcomes the same mixed answers. Even in its age, a quality that impedes the film, I am Curious — Yellow encapsulates 60s Sweden’s political state: the country is branded by democracy, yet suffers from socialist trappings, for which new politics supply no remedy.

Though Lena’s sexual practice is frequent she his not promiscuous, only, aptly, curious. Her relationship is a mirror of her other larger agenda: she violates traditional feminine submission in both her sex and demand for equal rights.

In whole I am Curious — Yellow is a highly commentarial film that addresses and displays issues without reasoning them. Its contemporary worth is that it highlights political ignorance. Like Lena herself, appreciation for the film requires interest in its politics. I am Curious is entertaining for its novelty, and exhaustive in its political intent. Its notorious reputation (attributed only to its frank sexuality), however, is misleading.

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