Thursday, June 7, 2007

Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)

Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Starring Gunnar Björnstrand, Ulla Jacobsson, and Eva Dahlbeck.

Before Bergman became a legend for his dark, psychologically probing work, he made this lighter film, an ensemble comedy about various people in love and the complications that ensue. It's a romantic roundelay in the classic theatrical tradition, in which the affluent characters are somewhat uneasily paired off at the beginning, and by the end they are more successfully matched, while a pair of lusty servants find time for a romance of their own. At the center of the film are a lawyer played by Björnstrand and an actress played by Dahlbeck, from which all the other relationships radiate, and Bergman controls the story perfectly, as the men take everything with the utmost seriousness, and the younger characters are more swept up in emotions than the older ones.

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