The Films of Ingmar Bergman Archives - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Ingmar Bergman: Summer with Monika (1953)

Summer with Monika - Title

Andrew COMMENTARYOne part of Summer with Monika spells out their relationship well before any of the fighting sets in.  Harry (Lars Edborg) and Monika (Harriet Andersson) have fled the comforts of civilization to embrace each other on sweaty nights on an isolated island.  Harry and Monika, crumpled together in a pile of dubious comfort to the both of them, start talking about what their kids would do, and what they would look like.  If you're fantasizing about kids, you're not ready for kids, and if you're not ready for kids, you shouldn't  be considering them.

Summer with Monika is the story of their decay.  A few days ago I looked at Summer Interlude with its suggestive images that hinted at the Seventh Seal to come.  The film that was most readily comparative for Summer with Monika is the devastating Scenes from a Marriage.  Both Scenes and Monika refuse to romanticize the notions of younger couples, be they freshly amorous in the teenage sense or barely on life's long road in the adult one.

Monika is a teenage fantasy gone awry.  Harry was just a timid man living under his father's shadow in the family business.  I loved how Bergman literalized this by having Harry's father loom over him constantly from a window at their job and then literally casting his shadow on Harry and Monika during a private moment when he arrives home in the dark.  Even if it's not as ominous as some of Bergman's other place-setting (going back to Scenes, that nervous opening interview) it at least shows the oppression that Harry feels that he was under.


Ingmar Bergman: Summer Interlude (1951)

Summer Interlude - Title

Andrew COMMENTARYAn important, and wonderful, friend of mind died last week.  He was barely a year older than my father.  He was supportive, loving, and didn't have a mean bone in his body.

I could go on, but I will write and speak about him another time to another crowd.  For right now I want you to understand why watching movies about Google and a punishment-free crime day aren't as interesting to me.  It seems like whenever things are hard, not depressing or angering, just plain ol' difficult, I turn to Bergman.  There are two fresh films of his sitting on my shelves right now and it seemed like there is no better time to watch them.

Summer Interlude was released in 1951.  This was right after his awkward period of transition between kinda successful and outright failures of cinema like Port of Call and Crisis and leading into his moment of transcendence with Sawdust and Tinsel and The Seventh Seal.  I was not expecting greatness, and Interlude is not great, but the moments where we see the artist Bergman is to become are so wonderful that I forgive the missteps along the way.


Ingmar Bergman: Final Thoughts

Andrew COMMENTARYIngmar Bergman had a style that college students loved to imitate but, for some reason, has had very little affect on the majority of public consciousness where film is concerned.  Yeah, classes are going to be taught about his films for many years, but it disappoints me that people are willing to give more credence to Black Swan or Inception than the genuinely challenging Persona or Cries and Whispers.


Ingmar Bergman: Saraband (2003)

Each Tuesday Andrew will be going through every available film of Ingmar Bergman.

Andrew COMMENTARYSome days, I wonder what memories I would want to take with me into old age.  I'm already a bit forgetful in the short-term, and my tendency to embrace emotion over analysis leads me to think that I'll become a mess of impulses.  Bergman took the analytic route.  He spent the majority of his twilight years trying to pick out what he wanted to remember, not so much for comfort, but what he wanted to confront for himself.  In the scripts he wrote for others he dealt with his relationships and faith (Faithless, directed by Liv Ullman)  and now in his final film, Saraband, he looks back and sees a life filled with time spent on the wrong people and emotions squandered away when they should have been shared.


Ingmar Bergman: The Making of Fanny and Alexander (1982)

Each Tuesday Andrew will be going through every available film of Ingmar Bergman.

Andrew COMMENTARYI have to admit that, at this point, I'm just delaying the inevitable.  Aside from the mountains of made for TV movies that Bergman created between his "retirement" from cinema and his final film Saraband I no longer have any feature films of his to look at (save, of course, Saraband).  But that was the final film he made before he died, so I want to stave off the end as much as possible.