SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT
SOMMARNATTENS LEENDE
1955, Janus Films, 108 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

After 15 films that received mostly local acclaim, this classic film at last ushered in an international audience for Ingmar Bergman. In turn-of-the-century Sweden, four men and four women attempt to navigate the laws of attraction. During a weekend in the country, the women collude to force the men’s hands in matters of the heart, exposing their pretensions and insecurities along the way. Chock-full of flirtatious propositions and sharp witticisms delivered by such Swedish screen legends as Gunnar Björnstrand and Harriet Andersson, SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT is one of cinema’s great erotic comedies.


A LESSON IN LOVE
EN LEKTION I KÄRLEK
1954, Janus Films, 95 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

One of Bergman’s most satisfying marital comedies stars the droll and sparkling duo of Eva Dahlbeck and Gunnar Björnstrand as a couple deep into their married years and seeking fresh pastures. A gynecologist (Björnstrand) falls for one of his patients (Yvonne Lombard), while his wife (Dahlbeck) flounces off to Copenhagen to renew her fling with a sculptor (Åke Grönberg). Deftly interspersing scenes of farce with interludes of tranquil reflection, A LESSON IN LOVE serves as a cocktail before the full-blown comic brilliance of SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT the following year.


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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