Less beloved by many critics than much of Bergman's best known work and
I can understand why. The overly melodramatic main story of love and
betrayal in a small-time circus is pretty banal stuff.
But for me the film was saved by the beautiful images of the first
Bergman/Sven Nyqvist teaming, and the short prologue piece - far braver
and more experimental than the main body of the film itself - of a
clown from the same circus and his humiliating love for an aging diva,
It's so much more interesting than the very similarly themed main story
that the device sort of backfires.
Still, this is full enough with bravery, images and ideas, that it can
compensate for its heavy- handed or over-the-top moments.