Mannequin in Red

(Mannekäng i rött)

Sweden 1958. Dir Arne Mattsson.

With Antia Björk, Lillebil Isben. 108 min.

A private detective doubling up as a fashion mannequin, a head designer with lesbian inclinations and a mean, wheelchair-based fashion house matrona ominously accompanied by a white cat… Welcome to the strange world of “La Femme” where the elegant surface soon starts to peel, revealing what’s hidden and repressed underneath. The remarkable rigid, yet sumptuous, portrayal of a couture salon and its mannequins, comes from the collaboration between cinematographer Hilding Bladh, costume designer Mago (Max Goldstein) and director Arne Mattsson (dubbed the “Swedish Hitchcock” due to his daring framing and calculated use of colour). Shot in beautiful Eastmancolor, Mannequin in red is long overdue for its international “discovery.” This recently restored print is the first opportunity for an English-speaking audience to see a treasure of Swedish cinema.