Monday, May 19, 2008


To say a simple thing, yet beautifully, yet effectively, to show a story which hadn't had to use far stretches of imaginations, except the most inspiring ones of what happens between a young man and a young girl when they are in love with each other, and when it's first love for both of them, to do all this you not only require a director of the calibre of Ingmar Bergman, but you also require an actress like Maj-Britt Nilsson. She is so natural, so much the Marie, the playful, winsome ballerina she is playing in the film, you don't even realise that these are actors and this is a film. More crucially, Bergman has stuck true to the title (literally "Summer Games"), so the film is a long sequence of youthful love which you don't otherwise get at all in films.

Usually, there is at the most a scene like the montage scene in Eric Segal's Love Story, but why a montage? Why a brief moment, when your whole film is about love between two people? Are you lost of ideas, or do you feel shy and insecure that your film is a celebration of love? This is the place where Bergman excels, he has given full scope to his characters in the degree they require. So while there's that old woman all in black walking in front of Marie, no one knows whether foreshadowing Marie's lonely old life or just being a placard on old life in general, she just strikes a terror in the heart, she just forebodes what is to happen in the film afterwards. There is no attempt of variegating the example or extending the analogy. There is again, much later in the film, a much direct reference to what the viewer can expect soon, through the moustachioed aunt of Birger Malmsten (playing the hero, Henrik) talking about death and legacy. And finally there's the magician, who is more the mirror for Marie rather than the one they are both looking into. The magician incidentally reminded me of the philosopher of Godard's Vivre Sa Vie, almost doing the same role of letting realise the protagonist the punctum in her life.

The cinematography of the film is stunning. And even more so the choice of locale by Bergman. It looks fit for those two young lovers, wanting to be free birds, Marie and Henrik. They both look a part of that world and part of each other when they are on those sharp rocks jutting out on the sea, they both look lost in the world and to each other when they are seen in company, in that world where there is more piano, crockery, ballet, Uncle Erland. The film goes on to show how actors who fit into their parts are essential for a film, especially if it aspires to rise to the heights of "sublime", which Sommarlek (Summer Interlude) does easily.

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