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VINE VOICEon 31 July 2011
They've been showing a huge number of Bergman films on Film4 on British TV. So, rather than buy a load of his movies, I have been taping them so I can watch them at my leisure, as I suspect many people are. I first got into Bergman not that long ago, when I watched 'Wild Strawberries' which I enjoyed immensely and which I eventually bought off Amazon. Both 'Summer Interlude' and 'Wild Strawberries' could be said to be similar in that they are a little whimsical in their outlook and also involving lost love, or lost something, without being drenched in angst or misery, which neither of them are. Both films are also probably amongst Bergman's most accessible films, and easy to watch and enjoy.

There is a sense, in both 'Wild Strawberries' and certainly in 'Summer Interlude' of loss and lost happiness, and a yearning for nostalgic moments that will never come again. But, along with the sense of loss and even sadness, is a sense of something life-affirming and even of hope too. The film does not drown in sentimentality or even pity, and in its own way is fairly upbeat and even light-hearted.

This film is over 60 years old now, but it has a refreshing quality about it, and a freshness that doesn't, for my money, date it; in fact, it has a timeless quality. The story is one of a long past love, and a romance which has ended in tragedy. And the main character, Marie, is reflecting back on this summer love she had long ago, whilst in her present day career as a ballet dancer. As I said, the film isn't really maudlin or overly-sentimental, but manages to portray honestly the bitter-sweet feelings and memories Marie has.

Bergman was a cinematic genius, and yet to some, he can seem miserablist, and even pretentious. I don't find this at all, even though I don't like every film he made. He was trying, I think, to convey in his films feelings and emotions that all humans have, which can't fully be put into words or adequately understood or explained. And, sometimes, this might not translate very well in a film. I think that whatever Bergman did though, he tried very much to remain true to his muse, which means of course that Bergman has many millions of fans far beyond the shores of Sweden. In a strange way, I think the closest films to Bergman's are Japanese films; I can't fully explain why but I think some mid-50's Japanese films have similar sentiments and the same kind of feeling Bergman conveys.
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on 6 May 2004
I had seen around 20 Bergman films before I watched this edition of "Sommarlek". I was taken by how good this film was considering that it was among the first ten movies where Bergman had both written and directed, and that this era of his career isn't much talked about in comparison to his films from mid 50's through mid 60's. The story is clever and has a perfect balance between all of its aspects. "Sommarlek" introduced a "new" side of Bergman to me. To think that I seem not to have experienced all of him after 20 movies, and that there is more than as much left to explore. What a Master!
Tartan's edition of this movie is region-free, but not worth giving much compliments beside that. The picture is OK - it's not restored on close to a Criterion standard, but the audio should definitely have spent some more time in the restoration-studio before the disc's release - it distorts a bit, even silence fusses (a lot), and inconvenient "clip noises", that could easily have been removed can be heard. The special features are disappointing; there are filmographies for the two leading actors and for Bergman (as is the case on most of Tartan's Bergman DVD's), and two trailers; for Bergman’s “Persona” (1966) and “Autumn Sonata” (1978) - movies that have NOTHING to do with this picture, and furthermore is included on other Tartan discs.
To sum up: 3/5 stars for the DVD (a big plus is that there are NO synchronization problems), 5/5 for the story, acting, directing, and cinematography. The movie is likely to grasp you, and make you forget about the bad sound quality, and it isn’t worth giving less than 5/5 stars for this movie because of something as stupid as the sound quality on a DVD. Enjoy a great film!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 April 2012
Touching, simple story of how a young girl's summer romance with a
sweet, modest young man, changes a her adult life as a ballet dancer
forever.

Told in flashback, beautifully shot, and mostly well (if not quite
brilliantly) acted, this lovely film could have been even stronger if
the two leads both didn't look and feel much too old for their roles,
making their naiveté and innocence feel a bit forced.

But there's much that's moving and insightful here about youthful
idealism versus life's hard realities.
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VINE VOICEon 27 August 2009
We have this early fully formed(directed/written) Bergman film about the joyfulness of first love,the nostalgia on looking back to the transcience of youth,a woman in her late twenties looking back to the choices made when time didn't weigh upon her; she reflects upon rich layers of memory and projection: `Days like pearl, iridescent,upon a string of gold'. Bergman conjures up summer scenes on boats and rocky shores,clouds crossing the sun,sun glinting on water,running water,leaves blowing,accompanied by a montage of rich sounds:running water,birds whistling, steam boats chugging,days of fishing and swimming. Everything is framed by Marie's life as a ballerina with rehearsals, theatre backdrops,make up and mirrors and also her uncle who is lecherous and plying her with gifts and flattery, who would like to elope with her. After Henrik's tragic accident she is left feeling life has no meaning,she feels like a'painted marionnette' when she cries the `paint runs'.Maj Britt-Nilsson as Marie gives a stunning performance as she confesses her sense of chilling freedom to a man in clown make-up.She gives her present boyfriend David(a journalist) Henrik's diary to read so he can better understand her.This is the diary she received from her uncle belonging to Henrik picked up at the hospital where he died.He sends it many years later and it sets of the stream of her conscious reminiscences.We end on her dancing in Swan Lake and a strange sense, with her adult perspective, of renewal.
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VINE VOICEon 3 August 2008
Thematically, this is very typical Bergman. Destroyed love and happiness in youth leading to a hangover into adulthood that casts a shadow on the rest of the protagonist's life.
I thought Bergman pushed the film away from being too much of a carbon copy certain other films of his by introducing the lecherous uncle and the diary of the former-lover. It's quite slow to get started, but once the flashback to the past commences, it's typical (and this word is not meant in any negative way whatsoever) Bergman. Emotionally taut, visually alluring, scripted perfectly...
However, I have only given it four stars because it didn't quite work as well for me as 'Summer with Monika' or 'A lesson in love'. I found these two films to be paced and lot better, and to be a lot more engaging. 'Summer Interlude,' and not just in the title, bears a lot of similarities to 'Summer with Monika', as Bergman takes the minx-like heroine and slightly naive hero and throws them together in a secluded place where there love can play out. While the heroine in 'Monika' is a mischievious gamine, unlike the heroine in 'Interlude', the maps of their loves follow similarly tempestuous routes.
While this is a much better film than many other directors could ever hope to produce, I don't think it quite reaches the five-star peaks of some of Bergman's other films. Still, highly recommended.
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on 19 February 2014
No DVD library is complete without the complete works of Bergman.

This is a magical film, tinged with sadness (He's Swedish, after all!) but the acting will knock your socks off.

Get it. Why are you hanging about reading this?!
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on 1 May 2003
This is a raw and really evocative piece, in black and white with sub titles it is hard to imagine how you might be sucked into the raw emotion of a first tragic love but you will....the emotion and the force of feeling in this film will take your breath away..particularly if you are female..a real feeling film, slow to start but slowly unravelling the whole contents of a heart and a past...unmissable!
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on 24 December 2014
Not a film that I found particularly engaging - despite its strong moments.
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on 17 September 2012
In my opinion, Ingmar Bergman's first step to becoming the greatest director of his generation. A rather pretentious love story begins between the self confident ballerina and an almost immature fan. Don't expect this to be the 'Dirty Dancing' of it's day though.............50's style swimming trunks aside. This sun drenched landscape easily creeps between the spectre of death. unnerving sequences both quiet and subtle.
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