2015 Blind Spot Series: Smiles of a Summer Night
What I knew going in: Apparently this is Woody Allen's least favorite Bergman film, despite the fact that he's seemingly tried to capture its feel it over and over.
It's funny, when I went through a list of Bergman movies and started adding them to my Blind Spots, this was one where I don't even think I looked at the plot. When I watched Wild Strawberries last year, I wondered if that was the closest thing Bergman would ever get to a comedy. Nope, that is this film.
Fredrik Egerman (Gunnar Björnstrand) is a lawyer married to a 19 year old, Anne. (Ulla Jacobsson) They haven't consummated their relationship. Fredrik gives her time, but eventually her eyes start to wonder to his son, on a break from seminary school, Henrick. (Björn Bjelfvenstam) Only he's too busy lusting after their hot maid, Petra. (Harriet Andersson) Then you have Fredrik trying to rekindle and old flame in Desiree, (Eva Dahlbeck) a stage actress. Only she's having an affair with the Count Carl Magnus Malcolm, (Jarl Kulle) who is cheating on his wife, Charlotte. (Margit Carlqvist) Desiree decides the only sensible thing to do is invite them all to a dinner part at the same time. Catch all that?
I made it sound more confusing that it really is. The film is just fun. It's almost slap stick-y in nature. There's all these affairs going on, yet the fact that none of the actors actually have romantic chemistry with each other is kind of golden. It's easy to root for Desiree, who gives zero fucks at this point, and Petra because they are just fun. It's very theatrical and beautifully shot, like every Bergman film I've seen has been. This also feels very different from the others, and I appreciate that he went for something light hearted, but still threw a very intense scene in there that completed worked.
Memorable Quote: "Does it fit? Not too big? Not too small?" - Count Carl Magnus Malcolm (Jarl Kulle)