Sunday, January 24, 2016
Torbjörn Axelman - Lejonsommar AKA Vibration (1968)
“As the 1960s drew to a close, European erotica really had its work cut out for it. In particular, Sweden, the country known for crashing American art houses with racy dramas, found itself competing with other countries like France and Italy to produce the latest scandal du jour. Budgets got bigger, acting got better, and plots became richer as directors tried to push the envelope, and no one benefited from this more than director and distributor Radley Metzger. Vibration (Lejonsommar) was released overseas hot on the heels of Metzger's Therese and Isabelle, also starring the fascinating and talented Essy Persson, and it shows the increasing influence of directors like Ingmar Bergman (who, lest we forget, was also promoted at first in the U.S. more for his flashes of skin than his artistic merit). Arty editing, sun-dappled cinematography, and joyous sexuality are the order of the day here, and Vibration is a breezy reminder of what softcore was like just before Sweden's next big shocker export, I Am Curious (Yellow).
During one tranquil summer, struggling writer Mauritz (Sven-Bertil Taube) takes a trip to a provincial Swedish island where he meets vivacious golden girl Barbro (Margareta Sjödin). The two begin a langorous affair mostly enjoyed in the great outdoors. Their idyllic love is torn apart, however, when his eye is caught by free spirit film actress Eliza (Persson), whose vacation plans include introducing Mauritz to the wonders of mod parties, motorcycle racing, and hot sex in greenhouses. Which lady will ultimately win his heart?
Vibration in many ways marks a strange collision between the dreamy eroticism for which Sweden had become known and the attempt to appeal to swinging teen audiences as well. The camera's tendency to drift in for painterly close ups of hands, feet, and other body parts makes for a dreamlike experience (and cuts down on dubbing problems as well), while the catchy lounge music keeps the story from drifting too far off into the ether. As usual Persson really dominates the screen when she appears, and as with Therese, the whole story is rendered as a flashback by the striking actress, who possesses an uncanny ability to change appearance from a world weary woman to a giggly schoolgirl with the flash of a smile." – Mondo Digitalfilm