1953, Janus Films, 97 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

Inspired by the earthy eroticism of Harriet Andersson (in the first of her many roles for him), Ingmar Bergman had a major international breakthrough with this sensual and ultimately ravaging tale of young love. A girl (Andersson) and boy (Lars Ekborg) from working-class families in Stockholm run away from home to spend a secluded, romantic summer at the beach, far from parents and responsibilities. Inevitably, it is not long before the pair are forced to return to reality. The version initially released in the U.S. was reedited by its distributor into something more salacious, but the original presented here is a work of stunning maturity and one of Bergman’s most important films.

1955, Janus Films, 108 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

After fifteen 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.

1962, Janus Films, 80 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

“God, why did you desert me?” Master craftsman Ingmar Bergman explores the search for redemption in a meaningless existence in this stark depiction of spiritual crisis. Small-town pastor Tomas Ericsson (Gunnar Björnstrand) performs his duties mechanically before a dwindling congregation; when he is asked to assist with a troubled parishioner’s (Max von Sydow) debilitating fear of nuclear annihilation, Tomas is terrified to find that he can provide nothing but his own uncertainty. Beautifully photographed by Sven Nykvist, WINTER LIGHT is an unsettling look at the human craving for personal validation in a world seemingly abandoned by God.

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