WAITING WOMEN
KVINNORS VÄNTAN
1952, Janus Films, 107 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

An early precursor to many Bergman classics - indicated by both its flashback structure and comedic timing - WAITING WOMEN is a charming film about three sisters who deliver personal accounts of the state of their marriages, ranging from brutally honest to genuinely funny and sweet. Known primarily for a hilarious flashback sequence involving a broken elevator, the film’s subtler humor is just as memorable, pointing toward the minimalism and restraint that Bergman would demonstrate throughout his career.


THE DEVIL’S EYE
DJÄVULENS ÖGA
1960, Janus Films, 84 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

This sophisticated fantasy - the last Bergman film to be shot by the great Gunnar Fischer - is an engaging satire on petit-bourgeois morals. The Devil suffers from an inflamed eye, which he informs Don Juan (Jarl Kulle) can only be cured if a young woman’s chastity is breached. So the legendary lover ascends from Hell and sets about seducing the innocent pastor’s daughter, Britt-Marie (Bibi Andersson). Bergman’s dialogue bubbles with an irony reminiscent of his beloved Molière, and the music of Domenico Scarlatti (played by Bergman’s fourth wife, Käbi Laretei) underscores the joy that invests much of the film.


SUMMER INTERLUDE
SOMMARLEK
1951, Janus Films, 96 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

A film that the director considered a creative turning point, this reverie about life and death unites Bergman’s love of theater and cinema, and touches on many of the themes that would define the rest of his legendary career - isolation, performance and the inescapability of the past. In one of the director’s great early female roles, Maj-Britt Nilsson beguiles as an accomplished ballet dancer haunted by her tragic youthful affair with a shy, handsome student (Birger Malmsten). Her memories of the sunny, rocky shores of Stockholm’s outer archipelago mingle with scenes from her gloomy present, most of them set in the dark backstage environs of the theater where she works.


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