Summer Interlude (rewatch)
Posted by martinteller on June 2, 2012
A ballerina receives a mysterious package that sends her into remembrances of a summer fling, and awakens long-buried emotions. I’ve been entirely too harsh on this movie in the past, and looking over my old reviews, most of the reasons why don’t hold up (and one or two make me wonder if I was even paying attention). I do still think the animated sequence doesn’t work. I appreciate the intent, and in its way it’s a charming little oddity, but it’s just too out of place in this film. And true, it’s not quite as nuanced or powerful as Bergman’s best.
But jeez, I’ve been overlooking how good the film is. Maj-Britt Nilsson is really wonderful as both the exuberant, youthful Marie and the hardened, older Marie. Her sensuality and playfulness make the flashback scenes a delight, while her melancholy of the present day (especially when she revisits the island) adds the appropriate weight. She has an excellent capacity to be both sunny and somber. The other shining star of this film is Gunnar Fischer, whose photography is simply stunning throughout the entire film. Whether it’s the sparkling of sun-dappled water, or the sight of Maria exploring the stark, intimidating house of her youth, or her haunted features as she reflects in the mirror, the cinematography perfectly captures the mood. Gorgeous lighting and composition.
And the film is actually deeper than I gave it credit for. It’s not merely a story of adolescent youth (which is handled quite nicely, I must add), but also the pain of growing older, the rejection of God, the emotional barriers we erect to shield ourselves, with other thematic sidenotes along the way. The tale of Marie and Henrik is balanced by the tale of Marie after Henrik, coming to terms with the past she’d put behind her too quickly. It’s a lovely and thoughtful movie… a bit flawed in places and overshadowed by Bergman’s more iconic and profoundly impressive works, but definitely worthy of a fan’s attention. Rating: Very Good