For far too long, the only access U.S. fans have had to Christina Lindberg's films was from either expensive imports or from bootlegs of varying content and quality. Thankfully, all that changed in 2004 when Synapse Films released Bo Arne Vibenius's THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE in a beautifully executed uncut special edition that helped introduce the Swedish sexpot to a rising allegiance of American fans. The following year, Seduction Cinema released Joseph Sarno's SWEDISH WILDCAT and thanks to Panik House, Norifumi Suzuki’s SEX AND FURY finally graced the digital format, but save for those two releases it has been Synapse Films that has been the driving force in bringing Christina to America, aiding label Impulse pictures in their releasing of ANITA in 2007 and MAID IN SWEDEN and SCHOOLGIRL REPORT VOLUME 4: WHAT DRIVES PARENTS TO DESPAIR in 2008. With EXPOSED, Don May, Jr. and Jerry Chandler have outdone themselves, presenting one of Christina's most accomplished works (by which I mean she is nude 90 percent of the time) in a level of quality that speaks to some of their finest to date. For this, as a fan of both Christina and cult cinema in general, I offer them my sincerest thanks, from the bottom of my heart and maybe even a little bit lower.
In EXPOSED (Exponerad) Christina Lindberg plays Lena, a complicated young girl whose sexual curiosities lead to a life of blackmail and prostitution. With her boyfriend Jan (Björn Adelly) away at his parents' cabin in the country, Lena becomes a regular of the wild parties thrown by local pimp and amateur photographer Helge (Heinz Hopf, THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE). Upon Jan’s return, Lena attempts to rekindle their young romance but the disclosure of her tawdry activities leaves little to be desired by Jan, whose outburst of anger sends Lena packing. Taking to the road, Lena hitchhikes her way to Jan’s now abandoned family cabin in an attempt to escape her troubles. Kept company by a pair of nudist travelers, it becomes apparent that Lena’s problems are much more serious than they first appeared upon the revelation that she is being blackmailed by Helge, who is threatening to release several revealing photographs to her mother and principal if she doesn’t ditch Jan and accept his sadistic love unconditionally. Torn between her high school sweetheart and the older man who fulfills her desire for sexual thrills, Lena will have to decide if continuing to explore her blossoming sexuality is worth breaking the heart of young Jan or if settling down to a proper life is even possible under the fear that her racy boudoir photos could one day be exposed.
EXPOSED’s narrative is a bit of a patchwork as Gustav Wiklund tends to jump backwards in the film's storyline to highlight specific scenes that could be construed as either figments of Lena’s mind or flashes of inevitable consequences, if Lena were to continue down her current path, or both. It’s an effective technique that leaves several questions by the film's end, specifically as to what and who were real and what were merely the fantasies of a confused, hormonal teen. In comparison to Christina's most notably film, THRILLER (aka THEY CALL HER ONE EYE), EXPOSED is relatively tame, at least in terms of violence. While taglines have made claim that the film was banned in either 27 or 37 countries, depending on the ad campaign, I can’t imagine the it not passing most boards with but a few minor cuts, due to nudity. This is after all a softcore Swedish sex drama; nudity should not only be expected, it is in many ways a prerequisite. That being said, reading into the plot too much more or less misses the point so let's get down to brass tacks, shall we.
Christina looks amazing! Her first leading role, EXPOSED spends the
majority of its running time following the sex kitten from one bizarre escapade
to the next, lingering long enough to ensure that she has ample time to disrobe,
pout and permit her soft doe eyes to drift out aimlessly into space. For his
first feature, director Gustav Wiklund struck gold when he cast Christina for
his lead, whose only previous role was in the Swedish comedy Rötmånad.
I can’t think of any other actress, living or dead who permeates sexual
innocence like Christina. As Lena, Christina appears outwardly submissive but
is in reality quite calculated and even aggressive in her outreaches for affection.
Appearing to be sexual naïve, she is in fact immeasurably inquisitive about
sex, daydreaming about every potentially carnal situation that crosses her path.
Christina would again work with Gustav several years later for his second film
WIDE OPEN (Sängkamrater), a title which is currently not available in the
U.S. (HINT, HINT!) A model while still in high school, Christina's rise to fame
was as quick as it was short lived. Staring in just over 20 films, all made
in about the span of a decade, Christina dropped out of the business in the
early 1980s to pursue other options. Resurging interest in her films has recently
brought the still shapely beauty out of hiding and back into the spotlight as
appreciation for all things Lindberg continues to grow.
2005 saw a Swedish DVD release of EXPOSED by Klubb Super 8 that while sufficient, suffered from stale coloring and a fair amount of dirt and debris. In comparison, Synapse's presentation is arguably the best the film has looked since it played to audiences at Cannes. On hand in an anamorphic (1.66:1) widescreen transfer, EXPOSED looks extraordinary. Detail is rich, with deep black levels and accurate color saturation that makes Christina’s skin look soft to the touch. There is some minor vertical line scratching that dances at the far left side of the print, but it fades quickly and is the only noticeable blemish to be found on an otherwise spotless transfer. Visual improvements from past releases (legitimate and otherwise) are particularly noticeable in an extended scene taken from 1943’s TARZAN TRIUMPHS staring Johnny Weissmuller in the titular role. Lena and Jan go to a late night screening of the film and, in what I assume was a means of padding out the running time, director Gustav lets the film play out for a good five minutes. The film-within-a-film footage is remarkably clear, highlighted by strong black and white levels and crisp detail. Audio is accessible in Dolby Digital 2.0 mono in the original Swedish language track. In an interview for Adam Film World, conducted while filming her follow up to EXPOSED, SMOKE, Christina makes mention that her dialogue was over dubbed by another actress, much to her delight as she was unhappy with her own voice onscreen. If this is the case, the sync up is dead on and in no way noticeable. On par with its visual presentation, dialogue and sound cues are as clear as a bell, likewise the newly translated removable English subtitles are easy to read and flow naturally.
include a 17-minute featurette called ‘OVER-EXPOSED” that features
on screen interviews with Christina and director Gustav Wiklund. Still turning
heads, Christina’s interview is padded out with several photos and magazine
covers from her early days as a swimsuit model, allowing for a smorgasbord of
eye candy. Her recollections of the shoot and her time promoting the picture
at the Cannes film festival is as sharp as ever, as is director Wiklund’s
regret of having passed on an offer by Roger Corman to buy the film for an American
release. A stills gallery offers a two-minute slideshow of an array of tantalizing
publicity shots that play out over Bernt Egerbladh’s "Lena’s
Theme", heard repeatedly throughout the film. Christina herself gets in
on the action with two of her own songs, Allt blir tyst igen ("Everything
Goes Quiet Again") and Du ar min enda karlek ("You Are My Only Love")
from an album that appears to have been released by the Swedish men’s
magazine FIB Aktuellt, for which she was once a cover girl. The film's
original theatrical trailer as well as its Americanized version, under the title
THE DEPRAVED round out a host of impressive supplemental material. THE DEPRAVED
trailer can also be found on the first volume of Synapse Films trailer compilation,
42nd STREET FOREVER, along side trailers for THEY CALL HER ONE EYE and MAID
Showcased by an arresting, grindhouse inspired cover by Stephen Romano, EXPOSED is fast on its way to becoming my favorite Synapse title to date and has already found itself a spot on my top releases of 2009. Highly Recommended. (Jason McElreath)
Note: April 3rd through the 5th (2009), Christina will be a guest Cinema Wasteland Movie and Memorabilia Expo in Strongsville, Ohio, as will the fine folks of Synapse Films. I unfortunately will be unable to attend, but would encourage all who can to take advantage of this limited engagement.
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