In this Swedish art movie set in Venice, Agnes von Krusenstjerna is first seen being transported to the local asylum in a straitjacket, her career as Sweden's reviled writer of eroticism over, the history of her neurosis about to unfold. Born into the aristocracy, von K rebelled against the etiquette that was her family's foil for homosexuality, incest and insanity, jilting her noble fiancé for David Sprengel, an older man with a reputation as a lecher. Sprengel took over Agnes' life, managing her money, revising her books, and administering morphine to curb increasing fits of anxiety. There are echoes of Bergman in the themes and look of the film - beautifully shot colour-coded landscapes representing youthful summers contrast with weighty interiors for adult anguish - but Zetterling lacks the master's restraint. There's little sense of context, and we don't learn much about the author's work. Too full of its own importance, the film is completely over the top.
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