A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Summer Interlude (Ingmar Bergman, 1951)

Maj-Britt Nilsson in Summer Interlude
Marie: Maj-Britt Nilsson
Henrik: Birger Malmsten
David Nyström: Alf Kjellin
Kaj: Annalisa Ericson
Uncle Erland: Georg Funkquist
Ballet Master: Stig Olin
Henrik's Aunt: Mimi Pollak
Aunt Elisabeth: Renée Björling
Priest: Gunnar Olsson

Director: Ingmar Bergman
Screenplay: Ingmar Bergman, Herbert Grevenius
Cinematography: Gunnar Fischer
Production design: Nils Svenwall
Film editing: Oscar Rosander
Music: Erik Nordgren

Maj-Britt Nilsson gives a stunning performance as the ballerina haunted by death -- both the literal death of the young man with whom she once had the titular summer interlude and the slow death of her career, which depends on the youthful vitality she can feel beginning to slip away. Like Ingmar Bergman's earlier To Joy (1950), which starred Nilsson and many of the same actors, it's a fable about art and life, about the conflict of the public persona of a career with the personal needs of an intimate relationship. Unlike To Joy, in which Nilsson's character is subordinate to that of her musician husband, Bergman has shifted the focus to the woman -- a focus that he would maintain for most of his remaining career. Summer Interlude may be his first great film, and Nilsson's ability to move from the winsome young Marie -- sometimes evoking the young Audrey Hepburn -- to the toughened, successful prima ballerina is remarkable. Perhaps the most startling moment comes when the older Marie removes her stage makeup, which has the effect of making her look older and harder, to reveal the remaining traces of the younger woman -- a fine reversal of the usual film trope of removing the makeup to reveal the effects of aging. 

No comments: