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Being overly melodramatic - a sign of the times
This being Bergmans first effort as a film director, it has been criticized for being overly melodramatic. First, melodrama is an utterly underrated way of telling stories, second, it was very much a sign of the times, as most films during that times tended to be overly melodramatic by themselves, and as a whole. So, it's not that much Bergmans fault, he just went away and made a film in the way most films was made at that time.
The acting is very good, Inga Landgé is so very beautiful as the young ingénue, and Stig Olin makes a very impressionable performance as the two-bit hustler/pimp. Above all, all the small parts are done almost to perfection. And Bergman has some hilarious dialogue, like the old lady at the train, comforting Ingeborg when she wakes up after a bad dream:
"You must've eaten something unsuitable. I usually dream about a big negro biting my toes off when I have eaten something unsuitable. Whatever that may mean..."
If there was a memorable quotes section here for this film, that line would be there. In the end, this film is not done to perfection, it's not faultless and diamond sharp as Bergmans later efforts. But it is nice craftsmanship, good acting, and an enjoyable experience. A well done first try in film-making.
Breakheart Pass (1975)
The worlds best "sleeper"
When this film aired on television back in the 80s, I taped it and watched over and over again. As a child, anything is funny. I don't know if it is because of that, but I highly enjoy this little movie.
I have a habit of putting on a film on my VCR as I go to bed and sleep in my sofa in the living-room. It is a habit I have developed as a single bachelor. The thought of getting sleepy and fall asleep as I watch a movie is highly enjoyable and quite comforting. And the films I see I have seen ten to a hundred times, over and over again. And the point is, not every film is suitable as a sleeper-film.
The first thing is, you have to have seen the film before. The point is not to get excited in the action of the film, but fall asleep. Thus you can't use a film you haven't seen. The second thing is, it has to have a balanced character with not that much noise or action. The third is, it has to be good, and I mean really good. It has to stand up for repetitive viewings. The fourth thing is, You have to like it. It has to have something that you can relate to. The ultimate sleeper-film is, of course, Bladerunner.
Breakheart Pass is one of my favorite sleeper-films. I have seen it thirty times, perhaps. It is not a good film, but it has something I really can't explain that makes it enjoyable. The train, the snow, the setting. The Alistair McClean script. Its slow pace, and made-for-TV footage and editing. Charles Bronson, Richard Crenna, and of course, the man of all men, Ben Johnson. I can't think of a more manly actor on this side of John Wayne.
It is like a cross between Agata Christie's "Ten little Indians" and "Waiting for Godot". It is in itself a journey to inevitable doom. It is the boat over river Styx. The point is, on the outside there's nothing much one could say to appraise this film. Though it has some uncertain qualities that smooth things over and makes you enjoy the journey. It quite definitely has a kind of unexplainable something.
En kärlekshistoria (1970)
The best love story ever told...
This is truly one of the greatest love stories ever told, regardless of age, time, setting or backdrop. It is simply irresistible. It perfectly captures those silent moments when the emotions are so big and powerful that words become meaningless. Never have so much been told with so little words. It tells its story in a way that you can not tell with words. Therefor it is a truly cinematic experience.
The youngsters puppy love is set against a backdrop of adults that struggle with their own lives. Her fathers feeling of misery and failure at work, her aunts unhappiness as an unmarried woman without kids of her own. His father work at the paintshop-business and his worries about the mentally ill grandfather. Against the adults the young couples love is so sweet and sensual, so innocent and beautiful. As a couple in love, they don't care about anything but themselves and seems totally unaware about everything that surrounds them.
Perhaps the best love story ever told on screen.