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A young woman, Karin, has recently returned to the family island after spending some time in a mental hospital. On the island with her is her lonely brother and kind, but increasingly ... See full summary »
Max von Sydow
Ingeborg is a small-town piano teacher who raises her foster daughter, Nelly, into young adulthood. When Nelly is eighteen, she is shocked by the arrival of Jenny, her mother, whom she calls "Auntie." Jenny wants to take her to the big city and teach her to be a beautician in her salon. This is devastating news for Ingeborg, who is ill and does not expect to live long. Ulf, the stolid 30ish man in love with Nelly, begs her to stay; but she is not in love with him, considering him much too old. Instead, she is attracted to Jack, a new arrival in town. She doesn't guess that this strange young man with the striped suit and dashing mustache is her mother's lover as well. Written by
For a directional debut, this is very solid stuff, not only skillfully directed but also set to a brilliant original music score. I would however identify one weakness with Bergman's directing here: it is very much tailored to the script, with dialogue or narration almost all the time, and this leads to it being too talkative, with limited breaks in which one can stop and admire the way that the story is being told. The film is in this sense very different to the style that Bergman would later adopt, and although perhaps somewhat weak, Bergman's skills do shine through. There are well-framed shots, an effective stream-of-consciousness sequence, great camera angles and excellent camera movement. The inclusion of some more non-dialogue bits possibly would have improved this film, but there is little else to complain about, with quite a good story behind the material too.
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