"I Am Curious Yellow"

I Am Curious Yellow (1967) is called a documentary at IMDB, but is really a sociopolitical satire. Swedish director Vilgot Sjöman approached his studio with a minor request. He wanted black and white film stock, a small budget, and complete freedom to make any film he wanted. Surprisingly, they gave it to him, as he already had an established track record. He decided to make the entire film improvisational, rather than develop a script, and he himself often appears in the film as the director making the movie. The story is about Lena Nyman (played by Lena Nyman), who is trying to puzzle out if there is true equality in the Swedish social democracy, or if there are still remnants of social classes, militarism, gender bias, and oppression from the monarchy. Much of the film is taken up with her interviewing various people.

When she is not doing opinion polls, she is having sex, and searching for sexual fulfillment with her boyfriend. She tells him he is number 23, but the first 19 don't count, because she didn't enjoy them. When Sjöman had finished the film, he wasn't entirely satisfied, and went back to the studio for more film stock, and more backing. What resulted was two I Am Curious films. He named them the Blue and Yellow versions based on the colors in the Swedish flag, and released both. There was an immediate cry to have them banned in Sweden.

When the Swedish censors ruled that the film could be shown, the religious conservatives were finally moved to action, and formed the conservative party that still exists in Sweden. The film was banned in other Scandinavian countries, more for its political views, and rude way of expressing them, then for sexual content. As an example. Lena and her boyfriend have sex straddling the balcony of the royal palace, then she goes in and consoles the king about the fact that he will be the last king ever in Sweden, and his grandson will never take the thrown, as the monarchy was to be abolished.

As for the sexual content, it would still rate an X in the US today, mainly for male full frontal nudity, and for a scene where it looks for all the world like Lena is kissing the tip of his flaccid penis. We see every inch of her body, with numerous full frontal scenes.

The back story about the US release is far more interesting than the film itself. Barney Rosset of Grove Press was your basic shit disturber. He had brought Lady Chatterly's Lover to US book shelves for the first time, winning a supreme court battle, and did the same with Tropic of Cancer. He came to realize that the liberal Warren Supreme Court would approve nearly anything as long as there was some sort of redeeming social content. I Am Curious looked to him like the perfect test case to do for film what he had done for books. The moral watchdogs immediately fell into his trap, and the film was seized by customs.

The local courts declared it obscene, but a district court reversed the ruling. The Supreme Court declined to hear the case. That left it up to the states to decide, and Rosset hit upon a great method to get legal representation all over the country. Attorneys took the local cases on contingency, for a percentage of the box office. The Maryland Supreme Court found it obscene, and the US Supreme Court agreed to rule on that decision. The final vote was 4 to 4, with Warren abstaining, as he had recently published an article in a Grove Press magazine. This meant that the Maryland ruling stayed in effect, but the rest of the nation was free to screen the film, and they did, to a tune of over $20M.

In the US Supreme Court decision, one of the justices mentioned that the film had redeeming social merit, but, other than the sex scenes, was a colossal bore. He was not alone in that opinion. Jackie Onassis and Ari were seeing the film at a New York theater, when Jackie announced that she was bored, and wanted to leave. Ari said that he was interested, and would be staying. Not only that, but so would the body guards. Jackie left anyway, on foot, and got into a confrontation with a press photographer that so angered him that he hounded her for years, and may have been the first Papparazzi.

Criterion has just released a two DVD set with both the Blue and Yellow films, and tons of extras, including directory commentary on selected scenes, and the entire back story of this landmark film. It was such a hot item in the 60's that it was the butt of jokes from nearly every comedian. By the time the court battle was over, and I was old enough to get into a theater, it was no longer playing, so I have always been curious about this film. It is, in fact, a colossal bore, and not a sex film at all. On the other hand, it is a very important piece of the history of censorship, and the new Criterion edition is very nicely done, including very good digital remasters of the films themselves. Lena Nyman is very heavy by todays standards, and was even heavy by 60s standards, but was an excellent actress, with a very expressive face, and her performance managed to keep me awake. This film is a D, but is a should see for anyone interested in the history of censorship.

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  • Lena Nyman (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36)

  • Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy)
    Scoop is taking the day off, but here's a little bit of Other Crap...

    Other crap:

    What're the odds?

    GOLF! Odds to win the US Money List except for Woods

    Odds without Tiger Woods. Closing Date: Mar 13, 2003 08:00

    Bet Selections Win Odds
    Ernie Els 2.1
    Mike Weir 5.0
    Phil Mickelson 6.0
    Vijay Singh 7.0
    David Toms 11.0
    Charles Howell III 15.0
    Davis Love III 15.0
    Jim Furyk 26.0
    Sergio Garcia 34.0
    Retief Goosen 34.0
    Chris DiMarco 34.0
    Jerry Kelly 51.0
    Kyoung Ju Choi 51.0
    Scott Hoch 51.0
    Justin Leonard 67.0
    Robert Allenby 67.0
    Chris Riley 81.0





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    • If there is a white asterisk, it means that there isn't any significant humor, but I inexplicably determined there might be something else of interest.
    • A blue asterisk indicates the review is written by Tuna (or Lawdog or Junior or C2000 or Realist or ICMS or Mick Locke, or somebody else besides me)
    • If there is no asterisk, I wrote it, but am too ashamed to admit it.

    'Caps and comments by C2000

    My latest caps of Spanish actresses Leonor Watling, Paz Vega and Elena Anaya.

    "Hable con Ella (Talk to Her)" (2002)

    Two men watch a performance of "Café Muller" by the Pina Bausch company in the opening scene of Pedro Almodovar's latest film. One, Marco (Dario Grandinetti), a best selling travel writer, is moved to tears by the performance - two women wandering in a stupor while two men clear obstacles in their path. The other, Benigno (Javier Camara) is a male nurse who cares for Alicia (Leonor Watling), a beautiful young dancer in a coma. The pair meet again at an elite clinic when Marco's lover Lydia (Rosario Flores), the leading female matador, is gored by a bull and left in a coma. The two men are brought together by the absolute love they feel for the comatose women. Benigno advises Marco to "talk to her", Lydia, as he does regularly during the four years she has been comatose. Notwithstanding the title, the essence of the movie is the conversations between the two men, the friendship that develops between them and the impact they have on each other.

    During the film there is a silent black and white short movie "The Shrinking Lover" in which a scientist's lover swallows a portion that shrinks him. The little man explores the scientist's body before, in a unique form of penetration, disappearing into her vagina. The sequence is shown in full but is significantly less gratuitous than the robot muff diver sequence involving Victoria Abril in "Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down", as a model is substituted for the actress. The sequence is hilarious communicates to the audience an act Benigno is later discovered to have perpetrated.

    Benigno is a disturbed individual, the result of twenty years caring for his mother at the expense of outside human contact. He is more comfortable in the presence of a comatose woman than a living one, and deludes himself she reciprocates his love. In many ways Marco is more deserving of sympathy - he doesn't wish to be in love with a comatose woman, Benigno on the other hand considers it the richest period of his life. Marco's love would seem purer as he can pursue a life away from Lydia but chooses not to, whereas it becomes clear Benigno has no life absent Alicia. Yet, the film elicits sympathy and understanding for Benigno that is not lost even when he commits an unforgivable act. By establishing his objectification of Alicia, one is left with the feeling Benigno would consider his act a form of worship, and expounding his flaws, Almodovar manages to marginalise the revulsion felt towards Benigno. This is partly aided by the unforeseen life enhancing benefit Alicia derives it but largely due to the manner in which his character has been developed.

    This could be tagged a male buddy film or a tragicomdrama but ultimately it's a story - a wonderful, moving, thoughtful story about life, love, relationships and friendship. It draws you in early on and keeps you enthralled to the end. The film opens and concludes with dance sequences that capture the mood of the characters. In the opening dance they are in limbo while at the end they look back with sadness and look forward to the future in hope.

    The two leads do a fabulous job in bringing to life their characters as does Leonor Watling who has the difficult task of spending much of the movie in a coma yet manages to look stunning. The film won a Bafta for Best film not in English and Almodovar is nominated for the Best Director Oscar.

    Following "Y Tu Mama Tambien" yet another foreign language film proves a great film and great nudity are not mutually exclusive. Leonor Watling is topless in five scenes, four of them while lying in a coma. Paz Vega shows her breasts in "The Shrinking Lover" and Elena Anaya is full frontal in a distant flashback sequence.

    Rating: B

    Some old favorites from nmd...

    Amanda Peet Amanda's topless debut in scenes from "The Whole Nine Yards". The upcoming sequel, "The Whole Ten Yards" is due out on Oct 17. Hopefully they will find another excuse to get Peet topless.

    Amy Smart Lovely breast exposure from "Road Trip"

    Halle Berry Another classic moment in movie nudity history, Halle topless in "Swordfish".

    Heather Graham The busty blonde going full frontal in "Boogie Nights".

    Lara Flynn Boyle The ultra-thin star of "The Practice" looking down right chunky (possibly weighing as much as 100 whole pounds!) in these topless 'caps from "The Road to Wellville" (1994).

    Maryam d'Abo
    (1, 2)

    The Bond babe (from one of the forgotten Bond films, "The Living Daylights"). Beautiful full frontal nudity from her first movie, "Xtro" (1983).

    Anna Nicole Smith
    (1, 2, 3)

    Anna Nicole about 100 pounds ago, and trying to act in these topless and full frontal scenes from "To the Limit" (1995). Thanks to Vejiita.

    Nastassja Kinski
    (1, 2, 3)

    A very young (18 or 19) and very lovely Kinski going topless and full frontal in these 'caps from the Italian movie, "Così come sei" (1978), by PAL.

    Nicole Beach
    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9)

    The model showing some subtle toplessness in these B&W scans.

    Emily Mortimer
    (1, 2, 3, 4)

    The UK actress showing some nice cleavage (links 1-2) and wearing a couple of see-thru outfits (links 3-4).

    Torrie Wilson The rasslin' babe looking pretty darn good in a bikini!

    Jessica Alba
    (1, 2)

    Non-nudes, but good lord is she a hottie!

    Nina Hoss
    (1, 2, 3, 4)

    The German actress topless and full frontal in scenes from "Das Mädchen Rosemarie". Great 'caps by Finn.

    Pam Anderson As always, barely dressed in public.