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Smiles of a Summer Night

Smiles of a Summer Night (1955)
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Writer: Ingmar Bergman
Cast: Ulla Jacobsson, Eva Dahlbeck, Harriet Andersson
Genre: Comedy, Romance
Length: 1h 48min
Country: Sweden

Synopsis: A fanciful tale about a group of eccentric, well-to-do people in the late nineteenth century Sweden.

Review: Bergman films are often described as physiologically dark, steeped in symbolism, with characters who lament their lives. And that's what I found in Smiles of a Summer Night for the most part.

I'm sure it's a well made film and a classic, but I had little connection to it. I was never 'in the story' but merely an observer. I used that photo above because that scene and the character of the maid was the only part I really connected to.

Most of the characters felt stiff and unreal to me, like two dimensional caricatures. They're there to make a statement about humanity and the condition of love. But the characters themselves seem like empty shells who's main purpose is to deliver the director's philosophical viewpoints. Which I suppose some people love about Bergman, I didn't.

I did sense an attempt by the director to inject light comic moments into the film, like the bed that comes out of the wall. But mostly these moments seemed artificial, it was like I was watching an opera with characters who are being intentionally over done to make a point. Only the maid and her ideas of love seemed real. I liked her.

If this was Bergman light, I shutter to think what a serious Bergman film is like.