Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Sweden: Heaven and Hell (1968)

I did have something more serious lined up for today's post, but I'm still nursing the bruises from slipping over on Crapchester's icy pavements yesterday, (the council, as ever, couldn't be arsed to clear them properly) and I'm just not feeling focused.  My left shoulder is still especially painful, (which is probably why yesterday's post was so terse).  So, here's a quick 'Random Movie Trailer' instead.  Sweden: Heaven and Hell, is probably one of the best known Mondo titles from the late sixties.  If nothing else, everyone has probably heard part of the soundtrack: that 'Menah, Menah' song The Muppets used to perform originates here.  Director Luigi Scattini also gave us the occult based Mondo White Angel, Black Angel, and Sweden: Heaven and Hell is constructed along similar lines, with copious amounts of nudity and exposes, via supposedly real footage, of sensational 'rituals' and the like.

As this US trailer makes abundantly plain, the film is squarely aimed at the sort of supposedly respectable audiences who felt they were missing out on the 'permissive society', giving them a chance to enjoy some of it vicariously via a 'documentary'.  A 'documentary' about Sweden which, back in the late sixties, was a byword for permissiveness, with its liberal attitudes toward nudity, sex and pornography.  Of course, in order to get this sort of stuff past the censors, (not to mention allowing audiences to pretend that they were watching an 'educational' documentary), it has to present itself, in part, as an indictment of this so called 'permissive society' in its most extreme Swedish form.  Hence the emphasis, in the latter half, on the 'dark side' of Swedish society: the motorcycle gangs, the drugs, the ennui and the allegedly high suicide rates.  It's a formula still used by UK tabloids to this day: 'we have to show you all this filth that we condemn in order that you can see just how disgusting it is'. 



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