Swedish helmer Sjoman dies

Provocative pics challenged the status quo in the 1960s

Swedish director and author Vilgot Sjoman, whose provocative pics challenged the status quo in the 1960s, died in Stockholm April 9. He was 81.

Following his critically acclaimed feature debut “The Mistress” in 1962, Sjoman helmed a TV portrait of Ingmar Bergman, who he had known since the 40s. In 1964, his violent and sexually explicit feature on Christian ethics, “491,” prompted a heated debate on censorship in Sweden. The pic was at first banned but was later released after the government softened its stance.

In “I Am Curious (Yellow)” and “I Am Curious (Blue),” made in 1967 and 1968, Sjoman and thesp Lena Nyman challenged the Swedish class system with a shameless mix of politics and sexuality. The provocative semi-documentary pics became local box office hits as well as successes abroad.

Sjoman wrote a few dozen books and helmed some 25 films. He made his last feature, “Alfred Nobel,” in 1995.

In 2002, Sjoman was awarded the Ingmar Bergman Prize in recognition of his battle to have his pics run on TV without commercial breaks. He died, following a cerebral hemorrhage, only days before the court’s decision in this matter is expected.