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I Am Curious: The Criterion Collection

Vilgot Sjöman's experimental fusion of sex and politics, I Am Curious (Yellow) (1969), was the highest grossing foreign film in the U.S. for over 25 years, thanks to the publicity accompanying its controversial anti-obscenity case in the U.S. Supreme Court. Unlike the more aggressively pretentious art films, Sjöman's most famous movie is fairly accessible, features a charismatic young star (Lena Nyman), is shot in beautiful black and white, and tempers its serious subject matter (which includes interviews with Martin Luther King, Jr., among others) with a spirit of casual playfulness. A year later Sjöman released a companion film, I Am Curious (Blue), edited from unused footage and reshoots, telling Lena's same story of pouting self-discovery with different material. Although (Blue) lacks the adventurous newness of its predecessor, it also carries a breezy charm and irreverent perspective, and provides a diverting alternate angle of Lena's journey. As usual Criterion presents both features in this two-disc set in great-looking transfers (both in 1.33:1 full-frame OAR). The audio for both films is monaural (Swedish with optional English subtitles), and each is accompanied by an optional, sporadic commentary by Sjöman. Extra features include an introduction by Sjöman, featurette "The Battle for I Am Curious (Yellow)", excerpts from trial transcripts, an interview with distributor Barney Rosset and attorney Edward de Grazia, one deleted scene from I Am Curious (Blue), half an hour of excerpts from the Swedish television production "Sjöman '92," trailer for I Am Curious (Yellow), liner notes essay by critic Gary Giddins and excerpts from a 1968 print interview with the director. Two individual keep-cases inside a paperboard sleeve.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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