Explicit Memory: Mai Zetterling

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"Despite decades as an international actress and twenty-odd filmmaking credits, Mai Zetterling remains a short entry in academic encyclopedias and references to feminist cinema. Zetterling identified her filmmaking as characteristically Swedish, describing it as a relentless search for truth through “self-analysis… perhaps too much”. The truths she brings to the screen are those of familial neuroses, powerful women, gay desire, and quests for authentic artistry. Critics of her films have cheered her craft, but complain of a lack of connection to her main characters. That critique does not take a wide view: most of her protagonists are in the grips of powerful memories, experiencing flashbacks and psychic disorientation. This approach to subjectivity erodes the stable identity of the individual, who is vexed and tortured by past experiences, sometimes unable to move on. We are no more distant from these characters as they are from themselves, seeing the truth of their un-sublimated desires." —Spectacle