leave a comment --Li Chow Li
Seventies cult-fave sexploitation star Christina Lindberg is the titular nymphomaniac in this Swedish film documenting the awkward sexual awakening of a pretty bourgeois teenager. Lindberg fans may well be wiping drool off of their chins after reading that sentence, but they’d do well to temper their enthusiasm. While the premise of Anita is definitely designed to get Lindberg naked as often as possible, this is actually a somewhat serious and somber film. You see, Anita is a “true” nymphomaniac, driven by a compulsion to have sex with men even when it makes her miserable, and it always makes her miserable. So, the fact that she is often crying in despair right after, or even during, her various escapades, separates the film from the more carefree sex films of the era and makes it somewhat uncomfortable viewing for those who simply would like to see Ms. Lindberg sans clothing (although there are plenty of opportunities for that, including an especially memorable striptease scene). Most of the story is told in a sequence of flashbacks, as Anita tells her story to a psychology student - Stellan Skarsgard in an early role – who, while chasing a drunk who has assaulted him, slams into Anita coming out of a tent on a construction site where she has just had sex with a middle-aged stranger. Aside from being concerned about her injured leg, Skarsgard is fascinated by the psychological specimen he has stumbled upon, and gets her to tell her story in hopes of curing her nymphomania. The non-flashback [word? real-time?] sections of the film take place primarily in a communal house of mostly female music students, who, when not striking up some god-awful racket on their various instruments, don’t look kindly on their resident nympho. Skarsgard diagnoses her problem as an inability to have a “real” orgasm. The problem is solved following her morning arrest on a boat of drug-smuggling sailors, all six of whom she had slept with the previous night. Apparently in Sweden cops are considerate toward pretty nymphomaniacs, so instead of being sent to prison she is turned over to a female psychologist. Anita seduces the psychologist - providing the obligatory lesbian scene - has her orgasm (offscreen), and then is able to consummate her relationship with Skarsgard, who has not acted on his infatuation with her until she is “cured” (he even gets his advisor’s permission to sleep with her, a situation graduate students the world over will surely be able to relate to). Lindberg always has a serious and somewhat sad demeanor, which plays well in the film, and even if she is a rather gloomy nymphomaniac, she certainly fills out her sweater and pants in a pleasing manner. As long as they know to expect a healthy dose of seventies psychobabble and a series of less-than-happy encounters, fans of Lindberg won’t want to miss this one, and the added curiosity of the very young Skarsgard is also a selling point.