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.


THE SERPENT’S EGG
1977, Park Circus/MGM, 118 min, USA/West Germany, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

A large U.S./West German co-production shot entirely in English with a fascinating mystery at the center of its plot, THE SERPENT’S EGG is an underappreciated anomaly in Bergman’s filmography. Starring David Carradine alongside Bergman regular Liv Ullmann, the film takes place in 1920s Berlin, as Nazi sentiment was beginning to brew just below the surface of German society. While it was originally panned by critics (perhaps due to its significant departure from his other work), the film offers an honest reflection on the director’s early memories of fascism during his time in Germany as a teenager.


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