Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Summer Interlude

No Accounting for Taste


Summer Interlude [Sommarlek, 1951] was one of the first Bergmans that Godard critiqued, featured in English speaking lands translated by Tom Milne in the anthology of JLG's writing up to 1968, Godard on Godard. In his text "Bergmanorama":

"[M]ore flashbacks than decency allows. [...] An Ingmar Bergman film is, if you like, one twenty-fourth of a second metamorphosed and expanded over an hour and a half. It is the world between two blinks of the eyelids, the sadness between two heart-beats, the gaiety between two handclaps. Hence the prime importance of the flashback in these reveries of solitary Scandinavian wanderers. In Summer Interlude, a glance in her mirror is enough to send Maj-Britt Nilsson off like Orpheus and Lancelot in quest of paradise lost and time regained. Employed almost systematically by Bergman in most of his films, the flashback ceases to be what Orson Welles called one of those 'poor tricks' to become, if not the theme of the film, at least its sine qua non."

Following an inspired comparison of Bergman with Visconti, Godard concludes: "I admire White Nights, but I love Summer Interlude."

Bergman's film almost unfolds out of nothingness: no real story, merely a sketch, like one of those short stories Chekhov exemplifies, before, suddenly: drama: Henrik (Birger Malmsten) dies following a diving accident. Marie (Nilsson) devotes herself to the ballet completely.

Summer Interlude is like Marie's small cabin — a 'tiny-house' of a film, before the imposing structure that is Summer with Monika, a keep encircled by thunder.


Other writing on Ingmar Bergman at Cinemasparagus:

Kris [Crisis, 1946]

Skepp till India Land [Ship to India, 1947]

Hamnstad [Port of Call, 1948]

Törst [Thirst, 1949]

Till glädje [To Joy, 1950]

Sommarlek [Summer Interlude, 1951]


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