Sunday, 6 July 2008

SOMMARNATTENS LEENDE/Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)

Directed at a faster pace, Bergman's SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT would have turned something like a French farce. But Ingmar Bergman's pace is slower and more studied so than instead of a frantic farce we get an elegant comedy of manners, a comedy of carnal confusion. It is well known that the great director was going through a particularly painful period in his personal life and credits this film with saving him from suicide. A group of people living in Sweden at the turn of the last century are involved in a series of convoluted relationships. Everything comes to a head when they are all invited to spend a weekend at the mansion of a famous actress. I hardly need to mention (after all this is a Bergman film) that the acting is first class throughout and the ensemble cast (led by the great Gunnar Bjornstrand) are superb. This film was the basis for Sondheim's A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC (filmed twice) and was spoofed by Woody Allen in A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S SEX COMEDY. The film (like the previously reviewed TORMENT) ends with one of the great life-affirming moments in the cinema, all the more effective because it comes from Ingmar Bergman. Rating *****

1 comment:

Cerpts said...

I gotta start seeing these Berman films!