Close Up

2 - 10 November 2018: Summer with Monika


Summer with Monika
Ingmar Bergman
1953 | 97 min | B/W | Digital
Swedish with English subtitles

“Produced on the cheap just prior to Sawdust and Tinsel, Summer with Monika is one of Bergman's most important transitional works, a film that doesn't loudly proclaim its maker's identity but possesses hints of things to come. It focuses on certain motifs that rarely showed up in Bergman's oeuvre after they were dealt with here: an almost fatalistic use of nature as rhythmic punctuation, teenage rebellion, and a neorealist attention to the working class. Nevertheless, the clear-eyed intelligence it exhibits in telling the potentially salacious tale of a defiant young woman who enjoys a hedonistic summer off the coast of her drab seaside town marks it as an early flowering of Bergman’s devotion to the complexities of female characters, even if the film was clumsily marketed in America as an exploitation flick. Though finding much tactile beauty in the contrast between the rugged Swedish archipelago and the soft, wind-kissed features of his heroine, Bergman also never loses sight of the encroaching sense of social responsibility hanging over his spontaneous characters, a sobering balance that inspired Jean-Luc Godard to cail Summer with Monika as “the most original film by the most original of filmmakers.”” – Harvard Film Archive

Part of our season on Ingmar Bergman