So the big hope was that, with the Covid-19 lockdown, I would be able to get a bunch of things crossed off at hyper speed. Unfortunately the opposite has happened and psychologically I’ve just been going down and quickly. I’ve tried maintaining this blog, but when I have no energy to read, listen to new albums or to write… things have become very difficult. So these next posts are likely to be briefer than usual.
Summer with Monika is the earliest Ingmar Bergman film that I have seen, which probably explains why I found it difficult to see many similarities between this and other entries in his filmography. It still showcases his keen ability to observe, but it lacks any trace of other-wordliness that I really enjoy about his work. Instead, Summer with Monika is a story of rebellion, consequence and the difficulties of breaking with societal norms.
To many non-Swedes of this era, Summer with Monika was primarily known for the nude scenes… which are incredibly tame by the standards of even a decade later. Times were changing though, and characters like Monika and Harry fighting their losing fight against what is expected of them as Swedes of the early 1950s.
As with many of these types of rebellion films, the fight is a losing one. These two were never going to be a good fit. Monika has been abused by her father and she wants a freedom that wasn’t afforded to working class women of this era, especially one with a baby. Harry was pretty much a follower anyway, so when things so bad he is more able to fit back in.
It’s an interesting film to see, but for me it lacks a lot of what I love about Bergman. Having re-watched The Seventh Seal after this – it was good to recapture that magic again.