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In Mai Zetterling’s scathing rebuke of European entitlement, a man returns to his childhood home and must confront his repressed memories and desire.
The emotionally and sexually stunted Jan (Keve Hjelm) returns to his childhood estate with his fiancée and is immediately besieged by repressed memories. As he recounts his childhood growing up with his eccentric mother, played by an exuberant Ingrid Thulin (Wild Strawberries, The Silence), he is forced to reflect on their relationship and the love she would offer with one hand and take away with the other.
For her second feature film as director, Mai Zetterling penned an explosive novel rebuking European bourgeois entitlement, swiftly adapting it for the screen the same year it was published.
Mai Zetterling’s fascination with the interiors of her characters – her films seamlessly drift back and forth between memory, dream and fantasy – is here fashionably intertwined with Freudian notions of childhood trauma, Oedipal desire and the return of the repressed. Night Games also speaks of the social, presenting the insular excesses of the European bourgeoisie moving within incestuous circles.
Of all of Zetterling’s films which shocked audiences and critics in their day, Night Games still manages a feeling of unease throughout. The film premiered at the Venice International Film Festival.
– Reece Goodwin, Curator (TV & Special Events)