4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
story of the fall - circa 1953,
This review is from: Summer with Monika (Criterion Collection) (DVD)The late 1940's through the early 1950's, imo, were the very best years for cinema. Before the demise of the big screen, the distilling influence of t.v., the necessity for big budgets - the mandatory interference with the art by folks who really do not belong in the creative process - casting directors, tyrannical studio v.p.'s, credit-jumpers, tabloid paparazzi, the right wing politicizing of lew wasserman and the hollywood blacklisters - particularly in small countries like Sweeden and Japan - one could still create art on the screen in a simple, unvarnished, moving way. Like Kurusawa's magnificent Ikiru filmed around the same time, Summer With Monika is simply one of Bergman's best, and upon many years of reflection, more memorable for me than Persona, Skammen, or other more highly touted, more complex Bergman masterpieces.
Though not without idiosyncracies and flaws, the film maybe Bergman's definitive investigation of a question that haunts many of his later undertakings - what is at the root of (god forbid me for saying it) the feminine mystique? Bergman's answer: In the words of no less an expert on the eternal misery of women than Dr. Laura Schlessinger (sans her deplorable politics): "... low or no self-esteem".
The idyllic utterly illusory edenic summer romance played out in in the last vestiges of an innocence which cannot live in the workaday world, brilliantly, by the gorgeous Lars Ekborg (Harry) and Harriet Andersson (Monika - was there ever a more sensually provocative heroine filmed on screen - and note: entirely without makeup, hollywood diet/workout routine, or skin shop quick fix-it?) is as graphic a peek at Eve's primal first bite as we will ever have in post-modern consciousness.
What Arthur Miller (also around this time) termed 'the tragedy of the common man', of epic porportion and real, filmed on a shoestring budget, von de seele.