Summer Interlude (Criterion Collection)
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Touching on many of the themes that would define the rest of his legendary career-isolation, performance, the inescapability of the past-the tenth film by Ingmar Bergman (The Seventh Seal) was a gentle sway toward true mastery. In one of the director's great early female roles, Maj-Britt Nilsson (To Joy) beguiles as Marie, an accomplished ballet dancer haunted by her tragic youthful affair with a shy, handsome student (Thirst's Birger Malmsten). Her memories of the rocky shores of Stockholm's outer archipelago mingle with scenes from her gloomy present, most of them set in the dark backstage environs of the theater where she works. A film that the director considered a creative turning point, Summer Interlude is a reverie on life and death that bridges the gap between Bergman's past and future, theater and cinema.
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But what really stands out for me is the exquisite tenderness of the romance between Marie & Henrik. Bergman is famous for delving into the depths of the human soul, especially its darker places -- the vile Uncle Erland is evidence of that -- but there's a sweetness, a playfulness, that really does capture the essence of first falling in love & discovering the consuming intimacy of giving both your heart & your body entirely to another. There's even a final grace note of healing & hope that comes from remembering & integrating what was once too painful to endure in the past.
An absolutely essential Bergman film? Perhaps not ... but a beautiful & moving one that will reward many repeated viewings, I think. Highly recommended!
Bergman was a serious womanizer which is hinted at in a Summer With Monika featurette that would never be satiated in his lifetime regardless the chase and conquer. these films hint at the greatness bubbling under his surface and go beyond art house as far as substance and sustenance quantify. if I love them, you'll probably like them. be more, try them. go way beyond today's digital so "30 seconds ago" when timeless moments could happen, leaving you in awe and breathless. unconcerned with whom knew what, when, or if ever.
The narrative is a bit hokey, but it does have a way of getting under your skin. Even though the lead actors (Maj-Britt Nilsson and Birger Malmsten) are much too old for their roles, there is a poignancy to their story (which I won't give away). The score by Erik Nordgren is appropriately wistful and anticipates his later one for Wild Strawberries. It is also appropriately somber--the film isn't a comedy by any means.
A few rough continuity jumps remind us that this is pre-genius Bergman (who was generally strong technically). The new Criterion release (2012), however, does restore a few seconds that were whacked off prior to its release in the U.S. during the 1950s (the footage shows the two leads climbing into bed with each other).
All in all, recommended for Bergman students and fans or for those who have a strong liking for Swedish movies.
Had given up hope on ever seeing it again, but Criterion did a
superb job restoring it. It led me to see everything I could by Bergman,
whom I consider the greatest director/author of the 20th century.
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Rating: 3.5 out of 5.0
Better translated as "Summerplay" or "Summer Games," Bergman's 1951 offering...Read more
shows and takes up many of the themes of his
later movies. It is a delight. A largely unknown delight.