The Velvet Café

A room for thoughts about movies

My life in movies – 1967 to 1982

with 34 comments

Who am I?

It’s a tricky question and frankly I can’t answer it.

Every time someone asks me to describe myself, whatever comes out seems false and out of touch. Sometimes it feels as if I’m pitching myself, treating an honest, friendly question like a job application. Other times I go too far the other way, going on about what a horrible person I am until I start to believe it myself. Occasionally the idea comes into my mind that I’m not an interesting person at all and I shouldn’t take up so much space. So I decide to stealth and hide in the shadows, where it’s safe. Watching.

But what is a blog if not a personal space? My café is like a shower where I’m allowed to sing to myself and where I’m better off naked than dressed up in clothes of pretence.

And that’s why I decided to make one of those lists of “my life in movies”, which I’ve seen on a few other film blogs.

My take on this is that I’ll write something about one chosen movie for every year I’ve lived, apart from a couple of years where I cheated and picked several.

Many of the films I’ll talk about are great and favourites of mine, but not every one of them. Some of them are mediocre, but are there because they represent aspects of me: dreams, experiences, time documents or I may have a certain memory connected to it.

It turned into a mosaic of images, as fragmented and disorganized as life itself, and the act of putting it together brought me back a lot of memories – for good and for bad. I wouldn’t say it’s the true story about who I am. But at least it will bring some glimpses.

However: I’ve talked enough. It’s time to start singing. This post will be the first in a series of three, covering 1967 to 1982.


1967 The Jungle Book
“Perceived scarcity will generate demand” said Robert Cialdini in Influence, a classical book about marketing and persuasion. And God knows that if you grew up in Sweden in the 70s, you were starved for Disney movies. That’s how it came that an entire nation sat down in front of the TV at 3 pm Christmas Eve every year to enjoy one entire hour of Disney cartoons. One blessed hour, an island in the middle of an ocean of dull animations from Easter Europe.

When I think of The Jungle Book, I think of “The bare necessities”, a song I definitely should sing to myself more often than I do. It’s a great reminder not to take life or myself too seriously.

1968 2001: A Space Odyssey
My love for science fiction is a heritage from my parents. They pointed me early to writers such as Asimov, Bradbury and Clarke. Not all of them are as great reads today as they were for my 12 year old self. But no one can take from me the epic feeling of looking at eternity to the tones of Thus Spake Zarathustra.

1969 Easy Rider
I’ve never been on a motorbike in my entire life. I haven’t even sat on a small one, those that teenager ride at 30 km per hour. And yet I’m convinced I’d love it. They say that it’s a bit of the same as galloping on a horse, and that I love. The wind of freedom messing in my hair, the road to the unknown stretching towards the horizon. I want it and I tell myself that at some point in my life I’m going to ride.

1970 Pippi in the South Seas /M*A*S*H
Pippi in the South Seas is one of many movie adaptations of the books by Astrid Lindgren, who was – and still is – A Big Deal in Sweden. People still are disgruntled over the fact that she never got the Nobel Prize. Pippi was the most iconic of all her characters. Strong, anarchistic, independent, dirty rich and – at least occasionally – kind hearted.

And why is M*A*S*H on this list? Well, to be perfectly honest I don’t have any particularly strong memories of Altman’s original movie, so this is a cheat. What mattered to me was the TV series, one of the cornerstones of my TV watching back in the days. Every Sunday night at 8 pm the signature went on. I loved it. There was something soothing about it and I learned to play it on the guitar. I remember the series as being very funny, but whenever I catch a glimpse these days I don’t feel any urge to laugh at all. Humour ages very quickly, unfortunately.

1971 A Clockwork Orange
Ultraviolence. This was where I first learned the word. Cold, calculated, meaningless, a twisted act of pleasure with an aesthetic touch. Today we yawn at it.

1972 Solaris
More science fiction! Not much to say more than that I loved how alien the alien was.

1973 Scenes from a Marriage
I haven’t seen all of Bergman’s movies and I’m not one of his biggest fans. But Scenes from a Marriage gives a fantastic picture of how a relation can evolve over time, about lovers and ex-lovers, about friendship and about aging. It’s honest authentic, but quite pessimistic. (Note to myself:  Remember what you said about “The bare necessities”!)

Bergman didn’t always get the recognition he deserved in his own country. On the contrary he got into trouble with the tax authorities, which forced him to eventually flee abroad. But today I think many of us feel a little proud whenever we see signs of what a big name he still is internationally. Made in Sweden. Just like me! Yep.

1974 The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
This movie – which is the only one on this list which I actually haven’t seen – caused a huge debate, a moral outcry in Sweden about the so called “video violence”. People were of the theory that watching violence on the screen could inspire young people to terrible deeds. The debate is still there, but it’s moved forward over the years. For a while role playing games were targeted, more recent it’s been about computer games. And I’m still as sceptic to the idea.

1975 Picnic at Hanging Rock  / Jaws
My mother is a huge fan of horror movies. I’m not. And the older I get, the harder is it for me to watch them. I’m getting squishier. Picnic at Hanging Rock captivated me. Eerie, dreamlike, beautiful and scary in a mysterious way. And Jaws is just iconic. It was The Horror Movie as I grew up.

1976 All the President’s Men
I never could figure out what profession I wanted to have as I grew up. One day I wanted to become an astrophysicist, the next day an archaeologist. To mention a couple. That’s how it came that I decided to go for journalism, so I could learn a little bit about everything, covering a multitude of topics. I worked in the profession for a few years, but I never grew famous and the biggest scandal I came to reveal was a plot on throwing thousands of tennis table balls into a lake, which I stopped. Not exactly Watergate. As I became a parent I thought it was a bad idea to combine journalism with family life and changed career. Sometimes I regret it, but I’m not sure if there’s any way going back at this point. Anyway: it’s fun to watch this movie and dream of what could have been.

1977 Abba: the Movie / Close Encounters of the Third Kind /Saturday Night Fever
Abba the Movie because they were my first pop idols. In 1977 Lasse Hallström made a half of half documentary movie about their tour in Australia, with some silly subplot added as an excuse. I wanted to see it desperately and somehow I got my aunt to take me to it. There was an age limit of 11 and I was only 10 and with my short cut and lack of makeup I looked like a 7 year old boy. My heart was beating – would my fraud be revealed, would they throw me out? But they didn’t. And I think I grew a couple of inches from the experience. I was a big girl now.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind because they don’t do this kind of movies anymore. Or I don’t enjoy them the same way since I’m too old. Anyway. Mashed potatoes. That’s all I need to say.

Saturday Night Fever. No aunt brought me to see it and I was too young to go on my own, so I didn’t see it until many years later (it was better than I had expected). But you didn’t need to watch any movie to imitate what you thought were Travolta moves to the music of Bee Gees. It was the default music at any school dance during a couple of years in the end of the 70s, only broken up occasionally by some Bonnie M.

1978 Watership Down
My copy of Richard Adam’s novel about rabbit politics is quite worn after several readings. As far as I can recall the animated adaptation wasn’t bad at all. Most of all I remember Art Garfunkel’s hit “Bright Eyes”, a single record I played many, many times until my musical taste changed drastically overnight.

1979 Quadrophenia /Alien
Quadrophenia is on a list because of a memory. At 14 year I was at a summer course in Brighton to improve my English. With the self image of a young rebel, I stayed away as much as possible from mainstream activities such as guided tours and arranged dances for the foreign students. Instead I spent a lot of time on my own and one day I went to see Quadrophenia. After all My Generation was an awesome song. “I hope I die before I get old!” To my astonishment the theatre was more or less filled with mods, who I figure were on some meet-up in Brighton. They sang along with every song in the movie and afterwards I watched them take off on their scooters, assembling on the beach for a huge party. It was like the movie, extended. And somehow I tagged along with them and forgot about that I in fact wasn’t a mod, but a punk rocker crossing the border, ignoring the fact that back in those days we all belonged to a group and you weren’t supposed to mix them. Times are better now in this aspect.

Alien is there because I can’t get too much of sci-fi on my list. Alien doesn’t only have one of the best film posters ever; it also has something that still is quite rare, but was even rarer back then: a strong leading female character whose primarily reason not is to be sexy.  Sigourney Weaver. So awesome.

1980 Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back
The charming bots. The signature. Yoda. The whispering voice in the dark helmet. What’s there not to love? The original series was wonderful, but if you press me, I was always more into Star Trek than Star Wars.

1981 Gregory’s Girl
Gregory’s Girl is high up on my top 100 list. Recently I saw it mentioned in a way that made me a little sad. It was written a feminist author who had used to love Gregory’s girl, but had revisited recently and discovered that it actually was quite sexist. We just didn’t notice back in the days. Maybe I’d better stay away from this movie and remember it the way it was to me: funny, quirky and very charming.

1982 Pink Floyd The Wall / Koyaanisquatsi /Ebba the Movie /Blade Runner
I admit it; for the year 1982 I cheat terribly, picking not one but four movies.

Pink Floyd The Wall because the teenage me loved it so much. There were times when I barely listened to anything else. Only this record, over and over again. I picked it up a little while ago after all those years and to my surprise the opening guitars of In the flesh still made me tremble a little.

Koyaanisquatsi because it was so different from anything else I had watched until then, smashing the boundaries of how you could make a movie. The strong criticism against the western civilization and our way of life made a stunning impression on Jessica at 16. I bought the score by Philip Glass and listened to it over and over again, enjoying every bit of my adolescent spleen.

Ebba the Movie because it’s a documentary about Ebba Grön, a Swedish punk band in the early 80s, which over one night pushed out Abba from the number one position in my heart. I still know all the lyrics from their first two albums. And I still think they’re awesome, even if I’m now a part of the establishment they mocked. They used to sing: “What’s going to become of you when you’ll grow up?”, followed by the answer: “Keep being a rebel, keep being yourself.” The question is: did I?

Blade Runner because you can quote and repeat the dying scene with Rutger Hauer any amount of times, I’ll never grow tired of it. Pure magic.

“I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser gate. All those moments will be lost in time… like tears in rain… Time to die.”

End of part 1

And with those beautiful words, I’ll finish the first part of my life in movies. This post became far longer than planned. I had too fun writing it.

Now my throat is getting sore, so I’d better stop singing and pour myself a drink – it’s Friday night after all.

But I’ll get back to the list at some point in the future, and share some more nostalgia from the 80s and 90s, as my search for myself continues. Until then:


Other posts in this series:

My life in movies part 2 1983-1997
My life in movies part 3 1998-2011

Written by Jessica

September 9, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

34 Responses

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  1. Yea! Can’t wait for the next installment. Perhaps I’ll do one of my own, but I won’t cover every year…

    Steve Kimes

    September 9, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    • I’m glad you enjoyed it! Give it a try. It’s really fun, even though I wouldn’t have dreamed of how much work it would take. Just identifying the movies, going through lists of what had come out each year, took a lot of time. Not that I complain about it – I enjoyed it a lot. Looking forward to see what you’ll come up with, even if it won’t cover every year.


      September 9, 2011 at 11:50 pm

  2. I absolutely love how personal this list is. A lot of great films, but that’s not what’s important. I love The Wall and Pink Floyd like crazy, but your inclusion of it on the list is not simply because it’s a great movie. The film speaks to a memory within you. I love that. It’s a great idea for a list, and your approach to it is wonderful to read.

    Corey Atad

    September 9, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    • Thank you Corey! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Maybe you could do something along those lines when you’re done with your essentials? I’d love to read it!


      September 9, 2011 at 11:51 pm

  3. You should watch The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It’s super great.

    I, too, love this list.

    Alex Thompson

    September 9, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    • Thank you! I guess I should watch it. The problem is that I’ve noticed that I get more and more squishy the older I get. I used to tolerate violence pretty well, but nowadays it’s much harder. On the other hand, perhaps it isn’t all that violent with the standards we have today.


      September 9, 2011 at 11:52 pm

  4. What a fun trip down memories lane!

    Had a 45 the “The Bare Necessities” when I were an orcling. Me and me sister played it ’til the needle dang near wore clear through the vinyl.

    Doo-doo-doo, duh doo doo dooooo

    Didn’t see Jaws until years later, but I always remembers seein’ a preview fer it when we went fer ta see a Pink Panther flick. That were scary enoughs.

    Sigourney Weaver’s Ripley is the action movie character what I judge all others against, mens or wimmenz. And they almost all come up short.

    I loved the look of Blade Runner – a future where everything weren’t white and polished and buggers runnin’ around in one-piece polyester thingamabobs with no pockets. Easy fer ta forgets how radical that were at the time.


    September 9, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    • @Ratshag: I’m glad you joined me on the memory lane! It’s wonderful to hear that we have some shared fond recollections from those years. And yes, there was so much to love about Blade Runner. So many scenes have stuck in my mind – especially the environments. The image of the city with the neon signs, I*m sure you know which one I mean. The apartment where the master mind, the inventor lived. Such an atmosphere! And a slightly twisted future. It was really wonderful.


      September 9, 2011 at 11:56 pm

  5. Your possible regret at leaving journalism and the road so many reporters seem to be forced down lately (what with the forced retirements and empty newsrooms) made me think…

    “Yeah, I quit working at a newspaper and took up blogging… before it was mainstream.”

    Maybe I’ve been reading too many hipster memes lately?


    September 9, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    • Hm… I’m hip? I didn’t know that because I’m afraid the hipster memes pass me by. But it’s a lovely and comforting idea. 🙂


      September 9, 2011 at 11:57 pm

  6. Great list, Jessica.

    With reference to The Wall (1982), “Is there anybody out there?”


    September 9, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    • Thank you, SpiritusRex. I guess all in all it’s just another brick in the wall.


      September 9, 2011 at 11:57 pm

  7. Great post! I had no idea that that quote from Blade Runner was so awesome to anyone other than myself! Makes me weepy every time…


    September 9, 2011 at 8:05 pm

    • Thank you! To be honest, I’ve seen it quoted a lot. And yet it doesn’t wear it down or make it stand out less to me. There’s something haunting in the image.


      September 9, 2011 at 11:59 pm

  8. I love your list 🙂 There are a few I’ve not seen.. weirdly the one that sticks out is Picnic at Hanging Rock, because my erm.. “was going to be sister-in-law” told me the story because it was a local tale from where she lived in Australia. I really should get around to watching some of these 🙂


    September 9, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    • Thank you! I don’t know which of those movies you haven’t watched, but many of them are highly recommended. I’m not sure you’d get out that much from “Ebba the Movie” though, but then again I have no idea of how you’d even get access to it, so it probably isn’t any issue to you.


      September 10, 2011 at 12:01 am

  9. Thanks for sharing Jessica I really like how you make this meme your own. I really look forward to the follow up parts. By the way if you like suspense and thriller films I really recommend that you see “Försvunnen” at the cinema right now. Its awesome in that genre.

    Joel Burman

    September 9, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    • Thank you Joel! The idea of making a list of one movie for every year you’ve lived isn’t my own, but I suppose I did my own little twist to it, making it a bit more personal.

      I’m probably a little more into drama than into suspense and thriller, but I’m not all that picky about genres. It’s not the label that matters if I’ll like a movie or not. I have a ton of movies to watch at the moment, so we’ll see if I’ll get time to see Försvunnen at a cinema or if I*ll have to wait for a DVD release.


      September 10, 2011 at 12:04 am

  10. Hi Jessica,

    I love these lists. I really enjoyed putting mine together the the original Blogathon was arranged by Andy from Fandangogroover.

    I love your list especially, and i know it is weird to pick on this film, Watership Down. That was a flick tat completely traumatised me as a child!! I think I would cry now if I saw it!



    Scott Lawlor

    September 10, 2011 at 8:18 am

    • I didn’t know about the original blogathon. This seems to have spread wildly… I need to check out the origins, thank’s for the heads-up!


      September 11, 2011 at 12:31 pm

      • The blogathon was how I met Joel and discovered his blog. He is now a good friend!! 🙂

        Scott Lawlor

        September 12, 2011 at 11:03 am

  11. “I’m better off naked than dressed up in clothes of pretense.” What a great line. Wonderful way to think of the sincerity and honesty that can happen on a blog.

    Lovely list and reflections generally. I particularly love your penchant for sci-fi, and my household will join the Swedes in being disgruntled over the fact that Lindgren never got a Nobel – there are many well-loved and well-worn copies of her books around our house, everything Pippi and children of Noisy Village. I’ll have to get a Pippi film for my girls.

    Melissa (@oneaprilday)

    September 10, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    • Thank you for your kind words! And how lovely to hear about your familie’s love for Astrid Lindgren. To be honest, the movies about Pippi are a bit dated. And I always HATED Annika in them. Such a silly girl. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 🙂 I think the works by her that have survived aging best are her fantasy stories, such as The Brothers Lionheart, Mio, My Mio and Ronia the Robber’s daughter. Goes for the movies as well actually. And Emil is always fun.


      September 11, 2011 at 12:35 pm

  12. Makes me wanna make one of my own which would contain the same sci fi movies if only I were even born in 1982 🙂

    Oh well, here we go as it’s very easy to create one just by seeing “my ratings” on imdb between 1967 & 1982):

    The Graduate (1967)
    Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
    On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
    Five Easy Pieces (1970)
    A Clockwork Orange (1971)
    The Godfather (1972)
    The Day of the Jackal (1973)
    The Godfather: Part II (1974) & Lacombe, Lucien (1974)
    Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
    Taxi Driver (1976)
    Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
    The Deer Hunter (1978)
    Apocalypse Now (1979) & Alien (1979) & Life of Brian (1979)
    Raging Bull (1980)
    Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) & Das Boot (1981)
    Blade Runner (1982) & The Thing (1982) & Fitzcarraldo (1982)


    September 10, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    • Sometimes it’s an advantage to be older. 😉
      Nice list of movies though.


      September 11, 2011 at 12:37 pm

  13. Watership Down – I know quite a lot of people today who refuse to let their children watch this. I can never quite decide if that is justified, or if it is evidence of society becoming over-protective. Either way, it remains for me a very fine film. It is the ending that catches me though, more than the song.

    Bladerunner – oh that quote is just gorgeous. One of the relatively few occasions where I think I prefer the film version to the book version.

    All in all though very interesting to read, I await the rest in eager anticipation.

    Lewis Maskell

    September 12, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    • I remember the book was quite scary, with that dreadful dictator rabbit. A monster. But my memories of the movie are dim. I really need to revisit it.

      I’m glad you liked it and I too look forward to the next part. I only need to find time to write it. For some reason it’s very time consuming, but also a great deal of fun.


      September 12, 2011 at 3:08 pm

  14. […] Film bara film, Blue Rose Case, Filmrepubliken, Micke Movie, Fripps filmrevyer, Royale with cheese, The Velvet Café och Addepladde hängde på och nu är det min […]

    A life in movies

    September 18, 2011 at 10:30 am

  15. […] Other parts in this series: A life told in movies part 1 1967-1982 Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  16. […] Other parts in this series: My life in movies part 1 1967-1982 Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  17. Jaws Alien & Bladerunner delar vi men visst har du flera bra filmer på din lista, jag var dock inte riktigt lika internationel utan mer bekvämt amerikansk 😉

    Jaws, Alien and Bladerunner are the ones we have in common, but sure, you have several great movies on your list, I just wasn’t quite as international, but more comfortably American 😉


    October 2, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    • Many of my choices again aren’t the movies I liked BEST that year. The list is more a personal reflection. If had used the same criteria as you did we might have ended up with more choices in common.


      October 2, 2011 at 7:45 pm

  18. […] My life in movies part 1 1967-1982 My life in movies part 2 1983-1997 Share this:TwitterFacebookEmailLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  19. […] inspirerade i sin tur bland andra Fiffi, Filmitch, Addepladde, Blue Rose Case, Royale With Cheese, The Velvet Café och Fripps […]

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