Archive for February 12th, 2020

 © 2020 by James Clark

      Way back, when Ingmar Bergman was a hack by necessity, he found himself (being an acute student of Hollywood flutter) ready at last (around 1950) to speak his piece. The vehicle he chose for this debut, namely, Summer Interlude (1951), involves all the treachery and emotional violence mowing us down for the next forty years. Although his portfolio would include marvelous instances transcending destruction, those marvels would be hedged in a way that protracted evil would seem to triumph on planet Earth. But what is planet Earth but a sick puppy in face of the infinite potential of the cosmos? In the days of Summer Interlude, however, we should not neglect the singularity of heartiness putting in a dynamic (perhaps) never to be seen from him again. This singularity is the special gift and the special task of our film today.

Whereas, at the outset of a saga like Bergman’s Cries and Whispers (1972), there is a piercingly beautiful rendition of the grounds of a large estate in early morning light, only to become promptly swallowed up by vicious interaction and horrific physical decline and death, the tyro matter goes to sheep-dog persistence to show us that an agency of uncanny love is very much in the mix. Not being able to deploy (as with the film of 1972) remarkable chromatic effects, our preamble reveals an estate of some opulence, rich foliage including daisies in bright sunlight and gentle breezes, benign white clouds and, particularly, a body of dancing water with a rocky shore to be displaced with the sea looking back toward the now distant structure, touched by a carefree flute motif. (The last detail to note here, is three chevron-form windows at the mansion’s upper floor. That they resemble jaws as well as a formation of dialectics indicates how early Bergman’s instincts for synthesis were in play.) (more…)

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