Harry Lund is a nineteen year old young man who meets Monika, a romantic, reckless and rebellious seventeen year old, and they fall in love. They leave their families and jobs in their ... See full summary »
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Rainer Werner Fassbinder
El Hedi ben Salem,
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Harry Lund is a nineteen year old young man who meets Monika, a romantic, reckless and rebellious seventeen year old, and they fall in love. They leave their families and jobs in their small town, Harry gets his father's boat and they spend the summer together in an isolated island. Monika gets pregnant, and Harry decides to marry her. He grows-up, gets a job and returns to his studies, trying to improve their lives and raise their daughter June, while Monika just wants to have fun. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
You can't get more naturalistic with a love story than with Summer with Monika (and still infuse the trademark imagery of a Bergman film); sleeper-classic
Summer with Monika is a very fine, if not completely masterful, showcase of what would be to come with Ingmar Bergman's more notable and personal dramas. That is, in the technical side of things- here he uses a lot of shots that are simply there for the location, the imagery of where the characters are at. It's much more of a documentary than a usual tale of young love. But it's a good story at the core, and in it Bergman also establishes one of the actresses that would become crucial to his career.
Harriet Andersson is remarkable as the happy, though high strung and (as one in my generation might call) 'needy' Monika, who works at a vegetable stand. She meets Harry (Ekberg) in a bar one day, and the two hit it off after later seeing a movie. Monika's home life is the pits, as is Harry's work environment. So, they act on an impulse to get away for the summer to an island. Out of that comes what is very natural in a relationship- happiness, love, despair, hunger, and the oncoming (unplanned) child. The third act goes as how one might expect, but the way it's filmed and acted is still extraordinary.
Once Bergman gets his film on the water, he just shoots and shoots. Some of this may not seem to go anywhere, some of it may just seem like shots of animals and rocks. But I have a feeling Bergman was likely inspired by either painters or the neo-realists with their documentary feel. If nothing else, everything feels very much alive and real with how the characters talk and act to each other, and that doesn't lose its ground after fifty years.
Some shots here and there (one when Monika is out one night, when Harry is not at home, is intriguing on how it just stays on her, and how it's lit) are some of the more memorable ones of the 1950's for the director. I also liked how the characters were believably stuck in the middle of a very plausible dilemma- do they keep on going on with a great, bit love affair alone and off from civilization, or do they face up to what they have to do with living? It's a tragic, somewhat obvious conclusion, but the way it's told is how it scores some points.
Basically, Summer with Monika is a fresh, dark love story that may appeal to those looking for a good alternative to a film of today loaded with cynicism or delight in the shrill conventions with the characters. One may have seen characters like Monika and Harry in other films, yet they are fitting for the style of Bergman's precise bittersweet whimsy and depth.
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