Directed by Mai Zetterling • 1964 • Sweden
Starring Harriet Andersson, Gunnel Lindblom, Gio Petré
The title of Mai Zetterling’s boldly iconoclastic debut feature—adapted from a cycle of seven novels by the provocative feminist writer Agnes von Krusenstjerna—drips with irony. In 1915, three pregnant women from varying social backgrounds (Harriet Andersson, Gunnel Lindblom, and Gio Petré) enter a maternity ward. Cue a swirl of perspective-shifting flashbacks that, with searing psychological insight, illuminate the divergent yet interconnected experiences that brought them there—and that came to a head during one lavish, debauched Midsommar celebration. Wildly subversive in its treatment of sexuality, gender, class, religion, marriage, and motherhood, LOVING COUPLES is as electrifying a first feature as any in cinema history, announcing the arrival of an uncompromising artist in pursuit of raw emotional truth.