Mai Zetterling

1925 – 1994
Airing Loving Couples (1964) on Wednesday, Sep. 16 at 2:30 AM on TCM

In her autobiography, All Those Tomorrows, Zetterling says, “When the reviews of my first full-length feature movie came out, I was horrified to read that ‘Mai Zetterling directs like a man.’ What did that mean?” As an actress she was considered no threat. But as a film director, she was “not the same any more in the eyes of men.” For Zetterling, it took years to realize “the change I had made was positive and, in the end, the only way.”

Zetterling and her husband, British writer David Hughes, collaborated for BBC-TV on a series of documentaries and her directing career went into high gear with her feature Loving Couples (1964). Its poster won a prize in Vienna but it was banned in Cannes as obscene. Night Games (1966), based on her own novel, was banned from the Venice Festival and censured by critics. Zetterling’s work shows a fascination with outsiders. “Perhaps I am a mad-hatter Swede,” she says, “who got lost in the world…I feel very far from the norm of just about everything.”

Select Filmography

The War Game (1962)
Loving Couples (1964)
Night Games (1966)
The Girls (1968)
Scrubbers (1982)