Young Swedish nurse Siv (Essy Persson in her film debut) lives unhappily in her drab family home with her strict mother (Tove Maës), a religious fanatic, and father (Erik Hell) who is withering as he yearns for the days when he played violin in an orchestra. Siv is sick and tired of playing guitar in the church band, and equally sick and tired of her boring fiancé, Sven (Preben Kørning).
At the hospital where she works, a patient called Heinz (Danish film star Preben Mahrt) – a married antique dealer – flirts with her and, although she is warned that he is a philandering playboy, she allows him to seduce her and they have an affair.
Heinz tells Siv that he loves her and wants to leave his wife for her – but having only just discovered a new world of sexual liberty, she rejects his proposal. She then breaks off her engagement with Sven, moves away from her parents and finds a nursing position in another city.
Here she meets a tattooed sailor called Lars (Bengt Brunskog) and they begin a relationship. When he proposes marriage, she breaks up with him.
Siv then beds her colleague Dr Dam (Jørgen Reenberg) who also falls in love with her so she stops seeing him, understanding that no one man will ever completely fulfil her desires.
She finally gets her just desserts when she has a sexual encounter with a stranger, Erik (Frankie Steel,) who tells her he can’t see her again as he’s afraid she will fall in love with him.
This Danish film was originally released as Jeg-en kvinde and helped popularise Scandinavian sexploitation films in mainstream American cinemas in the late 60s and early 70s. Edited in a “new wave” style, the black and white photography is gorgeous, as is the star, Essy Persson.
Two sequels were produced: I, a Woman, Part II (1968) and The Daughter: I, a Woman Part III (1970). Neither film featured Essy Persson. The film also inspired Andy Warhol to write and direct his feature-length experimental film version I, a Man.
Sven (Siv’s fiancé)
Waiter by the lake