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Summer With Monika [1952] [DVD]

Harriet Andersson , Lars Ekborg , Ingmar Bergman    Parental Guidance   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
Price: £36.99
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Summer With Monika [1952] [DVD] + The Seventh Seal (50th Anniversary Special Edition) [1957] [DVD]
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Product details

  • Actors: Harriet Andersson, Lars Ekborg, Dagmar Ebbesen, Åke Fridell, Naemi Briese
  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman
  • Writers: Ingmar Bergman, Per Anders Fogelström
  • Producers: Allan Ekelund
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Swedish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: Tartan
  • DVD Release Date: 28 Oct 2002
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006JY50
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 34,328 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Released in 1953, Summer with Monika, an early Ingmar Bergman-directed melodrama, did much to establish the reputation of Swedish cinema, and perhaps Swedish women in general, as leading the vanguard in sexual liberation. The film attracted the wrath of the censors and one scene of lovemaking had to be cut. While subsequent generations will look at the film and wonder whatever the fuss was about, it retains a vivid and frolicsome sensuality, before submitting to the inevitable, Bergmanesque bleakness.

The film tells the story of a young couple, Harry (Lars Ekborg) and Monika (18-year-old Harriet Andersson, with whom Bergman would fall in love) stuck in lousy jobs in Stockholm. Harry is beset by parental responsibility--his mother died young and his father is ill--while Monika is fed up with her drunken, violent father. They escape in a motorboat and to spend a blissful summer on an island in the archipelago. Once Monika gets pregnant and they're forced to steal food, however, the idyll concludes and they return to Stockholm, where the relationship disintegrates. You realise that Monika, from a large and fractious family, yearns for escapism, while Harry, who has never known true family life, longs for domestic stability. It is he who is left holding the baby. But Bergman does not quite condemn Monika, giving her one of his best scenes: in a cafe, estranged from Harry, chatting up a stranger, she stares unwaveringly and directly to camera, as if defying us to judge her. Visually ravishing, this film would have a deep impact on French New Wave cinema.

On the DVD: Summer with Monika on disc offers a fine restoration of the original film, and includes notes from Phillip Strick who points out that the film is in part hymn of praise to Stockholm's beauty and was influenced by the documentary "City Symphonies" made during World War II. --David Stubbs

Product Description

Ingmar Bergman's tale of young love gone sour stars Harriet Andersson as a girl from Stockholm who falls in love with a young man on holiday. When she becomes pregnant they are forced into a marriage, which begins to fall apart soon after they take up residence in a cramped little flat.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic early Bergman. 17 April 2006
Summer with Monika depicts a young couple rebelling against society and their parents (a common theme in much of Bergman's earlier work.) The first part of the film is set in the city of Stockholm, but as Harry and Monika cement their relationship and their resolve to rebel, we move out of the city to the beautiful islands of the archipelago around Stockholm. The depiction of young love in summer is idyllic - but, of course, it can't last... Beautifully shot and constructed, Summer with Monika is a moving and sombre evocation of young love.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A moving tale of love and passing summers 31 May 2006
I saw this film for the first time a few years back and was moved by how it mirrored so precisely a phase I was going through in my own life. The cinematography is nothing less than outstanding, but it is the subtle things that truely make this a masterpiece. I know other people tend to focus on Bergman's more grandiose works, but this movie shows that the master could also work on a much more intimate and detailed level.

I would recommend this film to anyone that has loved and lost. A moving and deeply personal film.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite Bergman film. 13 Nov 2002
By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I know that films like The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, Sawdust & Tinsel and Fanny & Alexander are better than this film- but this was the one I saw first. Many people tend to prefer the earlier Summer Interlude, that is similar to this film; but for me this is the one.
Based on the novel by Per Anders Fogelstrom, this has the themes and style that many of Bergman's subsequent works would have- a transcendental use of imagery verging on the magic, miserable relations between people and the existential nature of life and the obligatory decay that occurs with time...
Harriet Andersson's Monika is not dissimilar to other 'wild women' of the screen- Jeanne Moreau's Catherine in Jules et Jim and Beatrice Dalle in Betty Blue sprung to mind. The island holiday between the couple has that idealised quality of youth that people pang for and base whole careers on attempting to recapture- the end shows that change occurs and things can never be the same again.
I think this film is where Bergman came of age, and it has, for me, one of the most iconic images I have seen in cinema: Harriet Andersson running naked towards the sea. This is the most perfect image, one of innocence and beauty on a plain removed from the conventional (the beach is often seen as something like a dreamplain, if you're misreading Jung and gazing at Dali at the same time)- this is the moment that Lars Ekborg's character will try to recapture in a Proustian fashion (and fail to). A perfect moment in cinema.
It is great that Summer with Monika is now available on DVD, as I believe it to be a classic work and the ideal introduction to the world of Ingmar Bergman.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Downbeat Working Class Romance. 14 April 2010
By Philoctetes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Sex: it makes everything better and worse.

Harry, a put upon employee in a glassware factory, meets Monika, a put upon employee at the greengrocer's. Romance is stifled by the claustraphobic conditions of city dwelling, so they chuck their jobs and vanish to the islands on a little boat.

Beautiful summer interlude in which Bergman captures the fragile beauty of first physical love and tenderness. The inevitable pregnancy. Harry and Monika daydream about their future happiness.

Return to the city and kitchen sink grinding disillusionment. Their baby forever a reminder of that exquisite summer on the boat.

This film should be shown to all fifteen year olds, feckless or otherwise. It's a bit depressing, both for the dispiriting reality of urban drudgery, as well as for the sad reminder of our lost youth and promise, but well acted, directed and beautifully photohraphed.

A suitable, intelligent introduction to Bergman devoid of spiritual or existential angst. Who would resist summer with Monika, even if they knew the outcome?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars First love 22 May 2009
By technoguy VINE VOICE
A love affair as poignant as the fleeting summer.The 50s feel of in-laws and cramped spaces.The great sense of the escape from work and slavery,the glinting summer sun reflected in the water,the sporting young lovers without a care in the world.Then with offspring, the need to earn more money with the re-emmersion back into reality and wage slavery, with no escape.Bergman showcases the remarkable Harriet Anderson,sensual tigress, who went on to make more films with him.She had none of the introspective,nervous intensity of his later heroines, but a sense of instinct and wild abandon.The story is simple and well told.Luc Godard was inspired by this early Bergman film.This is the glimmer in the eye of world cinema.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For many, Bergman's breakthrough film 11 April 2012
By K. Gordon TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The first half recalls Bergman's earlier 'Summer Interlude'. But the
second half goes further and explores the 'what if' of the summer
romance between teens; moving into parenthood, marriage, and

The acting is excellent, and unlike 'Summer Interlude' these actors
look close to the naïve age they're playing.

The film's point of view sometimes felt a bit one sided to me with 'bad
girl' Monika, from a crude, poor family, less willing to extend herself
than her upper-class boyfriend Harry. Of course, along with being
selfish she is also the more complex and fascinating character,
especially as played by the young Harriet Andersson.

Some critics make the argument - with merit - that the film doesn't
judge Monika,the audience does. Indeed, it could be argued that the
film is meant to make us question our own judgment of a poor girl who
is brought up with dreams of marriage as a glamorous escape, and not
just a humdrum existence. It's not for nothing the heroine is obsessed
with Hollywood love stories.

Andersson's performance may be the first of the many hyper-real and
extremely complex characters in Bergman's body of work, transcending
'type' and moral judgment.

The film was beloved by the French New wave filmmakers, who saw in it's
complex attitude (and very brief nudity) a throwing off of the shackles
of conventional characters and storytelling.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Summer with Monika
First saw this film many years ago and it touched me as it might with many people.
Life seems so beautiful for awhile then hard reality sets in and we have to grow up fast.
Published 1 month ago by J A SALEH
3.0 out of 5 stars Rashness of youth
The film illustrates very well the old adage 'marry in haste and repent at leisure'. Beautiful B&W photography which I admired.
Published 11 months ago by Joseph.M.Feeley
5.0 out of 5 stars A love which lasted one summer long.
Another sheer beautiful Bergman film which cuts the strings of your heart. Young beautiful Monika seduces young Harry in a pub while asking for a match for her cigarette. Read more
Published 11 months ago by sunrisespacelab
4.0 out of 5 stars Dated but great
This film is definitely 'of its time' in many ways but it is a great example of Bergman's work. The black and white photography adds to its appeal.
Published 16 months ago by Roger Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Another thoughtful film from Bergman.
Bergman is perhaps one of those artists that you either love or perhaps quite like; maybe some people hate his films. Read more
Published on 25 May 2012 by T. S. C.
2.0 out of 5 stars No thanks, Monika
Oh dear, I know this is hailed as one of Ingmar Bergman's classics..... but I simply didn't like it. Read more
Published on 17 Mar 2012 by Frank48
3.0 out of 5 stars Dated but interesting
In 1950s Sweden, two young working class kids, still in their teens, the reckless and rebellious Monica and the handsome if quiet Harry, decide to elope from their families in his... Read more
Published on 7 Jan 2011 by Andres C. Salama
3.0 out of 5 stars missing fantasy
Another reviewer stated that "Bergman is careful (as he is with all of his women) not to make her [Monika] into some cheap male fantasy." While the movie was O.K. Read more
Published on 15 May 2010 by gentle man
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