Lars von Trier wasn’t the first pair Stellan Skarsgård with a nymphomaniac on-screen. Torgny Wickman did so 40 years earlier. In Wickman’s film, Skarsgård plays a younger version of Seligman, a psychology student who takes home a 17-year-old erotomaniac to hear her shocking confession. Desperately seeking love, Anita wanders the city in search of casual lovers. Not only does compulsive sex not satisfy her desire for intimacy, but it also exposes her to countless dangers, like the time she prowls around a construction site. In the end, even the upstanding Erik, Skarsgård’s character, has trouble controlling his growing desire for his “patient.” Anita: Swedish Nymphet is an example of a “Swedish sin” film, which uses an erotic story to frame criticism of conservative family values. Trying to satisfy a variety of desires and to reconcile the educational value with its scandalous content, the ambivalent Anita: Swedish Nymphet is an exemplary product of its time. And one should remember that pornography was legalized in Sweden in 1971, shortly before the film was made. Penalties for showing obscenity in films were also removed at the time. It’s interesting to note, however, that the film censorship institution itself survived in Sweden until 2011.
Torgny Wickman (1911-1997) was a Swedish director, screenwriter and photographer. He began his film career in the mid-1950s but came to prominence when producer Inge Ivarson commissioned him to make a series of “educational” erotic films. The first one was Ur kärlekens språk (Language of Love, 1969), the first film shown in Swedish cinemas in which the act of sex was shown in close-up. The subsequent films Eva - den utstötta (1969) and Anita: Swedish Nymphet (1973) addressed the sexual problems of young girls. Wickman enjoyed success making “Swedish sin” films, but his career came to an abrupt end in the 1970s. Forgotten, like so many erotic filmmakers, he continued to function on the margins of the canon of Swedish cinema.
1954 En natt på Glimmingehus
1954 Flicka utan namn
1955 Blockerat spår
1969 Ur kärlekens språk / Language of Love
1969 Eva - den utstötta
1973 Anita / Anita. Swedish Nymphette / Anita. Szwedzka nimfetka
1974 The Intruders