Touching on many of the themes that would define the rest of his legendary career—isolation, performance, the inescapability of the past—the tenth film by Ingmar Bergman was a gentle sway toward true mastery.
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Incredible. Bergman here is sweet, nostalgic, bitter, and happy (?) all at once. Nilsson is perfect, supported by great technical mastery. The setting, rural Sweden in the summer, is for me one of the most magical places on earth, even if tragedy does occur. One thing though, I never realize if it is supposed to be night-for-day or midnight sun. Someone help me with that.
Delicate and nostalgic ode to one's first love is a fleeting and bittersweet gem that shows Bergman at his least talky and cynical, instead opening the viewer's heart to a "remembrance of things past". Plus, is there anything else in Bergman's oeuvre to compare with the animated sequence which unfolds like a classic cartoon upon the record sleeve? Easily Bergman's most underrated film.
Ingmar Bergman's 10th feature film was something of a turning point in his career. While still not the master that he would become by 1957, when he released the one-two punch of THE SEVENTH SEAL and WILD STRAWBERRIES, his grasp of the cinematic language here is clear, as he explores the doomed love affair of a ballet dancer and a young student, recalled in hazy memories of a beautiful summer long past.
There is a great love for humanity in the way the camera here is content to rest on a face, trusting it to convey incredible subtleties and depths of emotion. Credit is due to Bergman and to Fischer, but also to the actors, in particular Nilsson, with whom it seems impossible not to be in love.
3.5-4. Setting aside my more impartial assessment, I have a special soft spot for character studies that emphasize sexual psychology. But I have an even bigger soft spot for Swan Lake; so, a story that grows itself out of that tale, varnished by the humor and observations of its beloved director, is immediately well on its way to winning me over.