Bright Lights Film Journal


My Name is Oona
(Gunvor Grundel Nelson; 1969)

Far less critical of gender roles than her other work (that which I’ve seen at any rate), Gunvor Nelson’s My Name is Oona emerged as one of the loveliest works in American cinema of the late 1960s (a time when you could use such terms as ‘poetic’ and ‘cinema’ in the same sentence and still maintain a straight face), and remains so to this minute. In writing about this film Amos Vogel judged Nelson ‘the true poetess of visual cinema’; and while that may or may not be true . . . Vogel’s declaration is too sweeping even for me, much as I incline towards it . . . no film of hers is at once so dazzling in form or effortless in its lyricism. And like all such films, it could not have been made in a time other than its own.