Saturday, May 14, 2016


Summer With Monika
Ah, Ingmar Bergman. The man who brought us a series of Nordic, nihilistic, philosophical films from the 50's to the 80's that many (me included) consider some of the greatest works of art that cinema has ever produced. I had finished watching all the 1001 listings when the earlier Bergman film Summer With Monika popped up one of the updated editions. This story of young love and how youthful adventures can so often be stymied by the realities of the real world is a worthwhile viewing experience for Bergman fans, but I wouldn't put it in the category of his best. I'd start with The Seventh Seal or Winter Light and work my way back. You may even want to start with his uncharacteristically upbeat Smiles of a Summer Night. You probably don't want to start with Persona, though that one wouldn't  isn't a bad place to finish.

I also decided to see Autumn Sonata, one of the later Bergman films and not one that made the 1001 book. It is an emotional masterpiece that has at its center the relationship between a complicated daughter and an even more complicated mother. This story gives no easy answers to who you should sympathize with and that is to the films credit.

From the DVD extras, it's interesting to listen to the director talk about how difficult it was for Bergman (Ingmar) to get the performance out of Bergman (Ingrid) that he wanted. But the end result is as good as you could hope for and I can hardly imagine her ever being better. But let us not forget Liv Ullman as the daughter. Liv and Ingrid are great in their scenes together and this film is highly recommended if you are a fan of complicated family dynamics in your drama.

Autumn Sonata


  1. Monika is a powerful and very sensual woman, probably the wet dream of many boys in the fifties, but I agree it is not one of the best of Bergman's.

  2. Harriet Andersson does prove herself to be a rather formidable actress in later Bergman films such as Through a Glass Darkly and Cries and Whispers.

  3. She was also pretty hot in smiles of a summer night.

  4. Bibi Andersson, Harriet Andersson, Ingrid Thulin, Liv Ullmann...Bergman had quite the eye for beauty and talent.