Erotikon (1920) + Matti Bye Ensemble

Erotikon
Director: Mauritz Stiller
Writer: Gustaf MolanderArthur Nordén, Mauritz Stiller
Based on: Ferenc Herczeg‘s play
Cast: Anders de WahlTora TejeKarin MolanderElin LagergrenLars HansonVilhelm BrydeBell HedqvistTorsten HammarénVilhelm Berndtson
With music by: Matti Bye, played by the Mattie Bye Ensemble
Part of: Film and Music Cycle
Seen on: 27.2.2017

Plot:
Entomologist Leo Charpentier (Anders de Wahl) spends most of his time with his research and very little time with his wife Irene (Tora Teje). Especially since he has his niece Marthe (Karin Molander) who takes care of his every need. Irene actually doesn’t mind that much because she’s very busy flirting with the dashing aviator and baron, Felix (Vilhelm Bryde), though she’s actually drawn more to her husband’s best friend, the sculptor Preben (Lars Hanson).

Erotikon is an amazingly funny film. While the live-music-setting usually calls more attention to the film music, in this case, I found the film so captivating that I barely noticed the music.

It’s hard to believe that this film is almost a hundred years old and yet dares to be pretty explicit in the sexually charged nature of its plot line and its acknowledgment of relationships that can’t be fitted within a monogamous framework (by way of insects).

The entomologist framing calls attention, on the one hand, to the fact that our social life is a construct and not a biological necessity – as there are many other examples of how things are done in nature. On the other hand, by showing up Leo and his attempted biological explanations for (male) behavior – it also makes sure that biology is no reason to go against those social structures. It’s a very modern argument to make.

But you don’t need to think that the film is a dry scientific argument. Rather, it is an excellent comedy that still manages to hit some very emotional spots. It was simply highly entertaining and I felt very much with Irene in particular.

Matti Bye’s music, as I said, faded a little in the background for me, but it was very nice. And even though I didn’t pay that much conscious attention to it, I know that it – like every soundtrack – shaped my experience of the film anyway. And since that worked so very well for me, credit has to go to the soundtrack in creating a wonderfully enjoyable evening.

Summarizing: Fun indeed.

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