Ann och Eve - de erotiska (1970)

a.k.a. - Ann and Eve (USA) Anybody's (UK)

Marie Liljedahl stars in a very bizarre film from director Arne Mattsson. AWE Scandinavia R2 DVD.

The Film

A woman guns down a man in a circus ring. She is Ann, a Swedish journalist who is taking a holiday in Jugoslavia with her young friend Eve (Marie Liljedahl), a virginal young woman who is due to be married. Ann encourages her to try experiencing sex with other men and hires a fishing boat so that she can seduce one of the crew. Leaving Eve sleeping post-coitally naked on the deck, Ann explores the local village and meets an old German soldier who fought against Tito during the war. The pair attend a swingers party where Eve is seduced into experiencing lesbianism and she starts to embrace her sexual freedom, meanwhile Ann runs into an Italian film director who criticises her writing about his films...

Despite a pre-credits murder sequence, Ann och Eve looks like it is going to become a rather typical erotic film of the sort that were becoming very popular in the early 1970s - namely the sexual liberation of a young woman by her enjoyment of numerous sexual adventures - accordingly the two women are soon having casual and carefree sex with fishermen on their boat. As the film continues, however, it starts to become rather much stranger - Ann listens to a long monologue from an old German soldier about why he ended up in Jugoslavia, only for the character to then play no real further part in the film; the girls attend a swingers party where a lady sings a lengthy song before promising to introduce Eve to lesbianism while a dwarf plays the piano; Ann has another long conversation, this time with a film director. Director Arne Mattsson apparently made the film as a response to bad criticism his films had received in the press and certainly the script seems to be trying to say something about film direction and critiques, but it is unclear what it is trying to say and it seems like a completely different storyline to the perfectly servicable (and far more enjoyable) sexual liberalisation theme that started off the whole film.

In the second half, Eve's story is largely forgotten. She declares that she has had lots of sex with many men on the trip (although it is at most two that we have seen) then for no reason accepts a lift from a group of truckers who proceed to have sex with her in the back of their truck, although whether this is part of her sexual liberation or gang-rape the film never makes clear and the scene seems rather unnecessary. Meanwhile the film director storyline seems to have become the main focus and we are treated to some more endless dialogue scenes (were this film made today it would be easy to accuse the writer of trying to capture a Tarantino-esque flavour to these seemingly irrelevent dialogue scenes, but failing abysmally) before it finally descends into a completely surreal ending.

Behind the camera, Mattsson matches the strange and uncertain script with some strange and uncertain direction. The opening of the film is shot in a conventional manner, but he seems to have a dislike of the erotic scenes and certainly does not exploit them like many other directors would - the camera continually pans away from nudity, the first sex scene on the boat is entirely invisible in the dark and two of Eve's later sexual encounters are intentionally blurred out as though we were watching through frosted glass - frustratingly there seems to be no reason at all for the director to do this, the camera is not playing a voyeur nor are the characters supposed to be on any narcotics. The truck sex scene is not blurred, but it is very brief and although a director like Joe D'Amato could have made the sequence into a highlight of the film, Mattsson completely wastes it.

The innocent, cherub-like beauty of Swedish starlet Marie Liljedahl seems perfectly suited to the role as Eve but she never gets much to do and her nude scenes are much too brief for fans (she would show off infinitely more in Jess Franco's Eugenie (1970) made in the same year). The more mature Gio Petré seems well suited to the role of Ann. A few experienced faces show up in the rest of the cast, including Spaghetti Western regular Julián Mateos (I crudeli (1967)), Finnish actor Erik Hell (The Passion of Anna (1969)) and Francisco Rabal (Viridiana (1961)) who is very convincing as the rather arrogant film director.

Less erotic than narcoleptic, it is hard to tell what the purpose of Ann och Eve - de erotiska is, an interesting if unoriginal sexual liberation storyline seems to run into an entirely different self-reflexive and somewhat self-obsessive film director plot. It seems as though the director, being unable to get permission to shoot his own storyline, just tacked it onto a more commercially viable sex movie in which he had no interest. The result is that Marie Liljedahl is simply wasted here and any viewers expecting eroticism will be disappointed by the very brief nude scenes and the blurred out sex scenes. Fans of the more surrealist Scandinavian cinema might be more at home in this film, which after a slow start, certainly becomes very strange.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? Marie Liljedahl - young Swedish actress who made her name at just seventeen in Inga (1968)
Directed by anyone interesting? Arne Mattsson - a Swedish born director who helmed over fifty films from the late 1940s including coming of age drama Hon dansade en sommar (1951) and Candian mystery film Mask of Murder (1985).
Any gore or violence? None
Any sex or nudity? A few female topless scenes - the two main sex scenes are blurred out and the sex scene in the back of a truck is largely off-camera.
Who is it for? It is hard to say who this film is for, certainly not for anyone looking for an erotic film, probably of interest to cult fans who enjoy strange and surreal cinema.

See Also:
Sinful Dwarf (1973) An incredibly sleazy Danish film that really exploits the idea of a dwarf in sex scenes.

Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.66:1 non-anamorphic widescreen. Colour
The print is not in great shape - there is often a quite reddish hue and it can be quite dark and grainy in places. Always watchable.
Audio English mono - some drop-outs at the start but otherwise fine and always audible dialogue.
Subtitles Danish, Norweigan, Swedish and Finnish (all optional).
Extras The disc includes:
  • Promotional Brochure - a manually scrolling scan of the original promotional material, in English.
  • Manually scrolling on-screen text biographies of Arne Mattsson, Marie Liljedahl, Gio Petre and Heinz Hopf as well as notes about the film itself. All in English.
  • Bonus trailers for: Salon Kitty, The Key, The Killers, Columbus - the Discovery, Night of the Following Day, Hibernatus, L'Homme Orchestre, Yesterday Today and Tomorrow, A Reason to Live a Reason to Die, Re-Animator, Miracle in Milan, Umberto D, Inglorious Bastards, Manic, Vigilante, The Buddy Holly Story, What? and Over the Edge.
Region Region 2 (UK, Europe) - PAL
Availability Danish DVD release - title Ann & Eve
Other regions? Released in the US by 'Something Weird Video' but in a cut print with some scenes out of order. Also available on a Japanese DVD, possibly the same print as this release.
Cuts? Cut status unconfirmed - the optical blurring on this print is apparently the intention of the director although other releases have included this footage without the blurring. The print used is English language.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - 15th November 2010 - part of 'Naughty November'.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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