Introduced by Monika Inger Hallqvist, advisor to the consulate general of Sweden in Houston
Traveling to accept an honorary degree, Professor Isak Borg—brilliantly played by veteran director Victor Sjöström—is forced to face his past, come to terms with his faults, and make peace with the inevitability of his approaching death. Through flashbacks and fantasies, dreams and nightmares, Wild Strawberries dramatizes one man’s remarkable voyage of self-discovery. This richly humane masterpiece, full of iconic imagery, is a treasure from the golden age of art-house cinema and one of the films that catapulted Ingmar Bergman to international acclaim.
After 15 films that received mostly local acclaim, the 1955 comedy Smiles of a Summer Night at last ushered in an international audience for Ingmar Bergman. During a country weekend in turn-of-the-century Sweden, four men and four women attempt to navigate the laws of attraction. The women collude to force the men’s hands in matters of the heart, exposing pretensions and insecurities along the way. Chock-full of flirtatious propositions and sharp witticisms delivered by Swedish screen legends such as Gunnar Björnstrand and Harriet Andersson, Smiles of a Summer Night is one of cinema’s great erotic comedies.
One of Ingmar Bergman’s most satisfying marital comedies, A Lesson in Love stars the droll and sparkling duo of Eva Dahlbeck and Gunnar Björnstrand as Marianne and David Erneman, a couple deep into their married years and seeking fresh pastures. David, a gynecologist, falls for one of his patients (Yvonne Lombard), while Marianne flounces off to Copenhagen to renew her fling with a sculptor (Åke Grönberg).
Deftly interspersing scenes of farce with interludes of tranquil reflection, A Lesson in Love serves as a cocktail before the full-blown comic brilliance of Smiles of a Summer Night, which screens on Saturday, September 1.
“In my opinion, Ingmar Bergman has made a delightful film. It is not one for the avant-garde, nor for those looking for literary depth. It is an 'ordinary' film, yet ordinary films like this are themselves unusual.” —Stockholms-Tidningen
Inspired by the earthy eroticism of Harriet Andersson, in the first of her many roles for him, Ingmar Bergman had a major international breakthrough with this sensual and ultimately ravaging tale of young love. A girl (Andersson) and boy (Lars Ekborg) from working-class families in Stockholm run away from home to spend a secluded, romantic summer at the beach, far from parents and responsibilities. Inevitably, it is not long before the pair are forced to return to reality. The version initially released in the United States was reedited by its distributor into something more salacious, but the original Summer with Monika, presented here, is a work of stunning maturity and one of Bergman’s most important films.
“More than 50 years after its first screening in America, Monika arrives . . . to light up the screen, this time without a trace of impropriety.” —The New York Times
“Bergman fans will discover that it's not a typical film of his, and is rather more realistic than his later films, and some would call it ‘minor.’ But by any standards, it’s an excellent film, gorgeously made and emotionally powerful.” —Combustible Celluloid
“Bergman would be no more adept a pornographer than he would be at filming hip-hop, but his camera did stare at the human surface with an intentness unmatched since von Sternberg rhapsodized over Marlene Dietrich.” —New Yorker
Ingmar Bergman presents the battle of the sexes as a ramshackle, grotesque carnival in one of his most vivid early works. A story of the charged relationship between a turn-of-the-century traveling circus owner (Ake Grönberg) and his performer girlfriend (Harriet Andersson), Sawdust and Tinsel features dreamlike detours and twisted, psychosexual power plays that presage the director’s Smiles of a Summer Night and The Seventh Seal, works that would soon change the landscape of art cinema forever.
“Visually it is a treat, with Bergman’s richly baroque compositions and persistent use of deep focus brilliantly exploiting the circus and theater settings. And the performances are first-rate.” —Time Out
“Not just a showcase for motifs that Bergman would use to create masterpieces later; it’s a great film all by itself.” —Antagony & Ecstasy
While at a summer house awaiting their husbands’ return, three sisters-in-law recount stories from their respective marriages. Rakel (Anita Björk) tells of receiving a visit from a former lover (Jarl Kulle); Marta (Maj-Britt Nilsson), of agreeing to marry a painter (Birger Malmsten) only after having his child; and Karin (Eva Dahlbeck), of being stuck with her husband (Gunnar Björnstrand) in an elevator, where they talk intimately for the first time in years.
Driven by dexterous flashbacks, the engaging Secrets of Women is a veritable seedbed of perennial Bergman themes, ranging from aspiring young love to the fear of loneliness, with the finale a masterpiece of chamber comedy.
“[Secrets of Women] wasn’t really intended to be experimental in any way. It was meant to be a commercial success. But it contains another, more heavily disguised experiment. And that’s the little bit with Maj-Britt Nilsson and Birger Malmsten. It has almost no dialogue, only some 50 lines. This really was an experiment, an attempt on my part to tell a story in pictures. An attempt I didn’t repeat until The Silence, where there’s very little dialogue. But it was a secret experiment, too—we didn’t dare tell anyone we were experimenting.” —Ingmar Bergman
“The drama takes precedence over comedy, but the wry tone makes this one of the smoothest and most accessible films from the early stages of Bergman's career.” —Film4
Every 3rd Saturday, Houston Art Connective members eagerly invites the public to Connect with Art Saturday, where the artists open their studios to tour their diverse and contemporary spaces. The artist studio's are filled with original and exciting artworks in a wide range of different styles and media. Its a great opportunity to "peek behind the curtain" and talk to the artists directly. You can learn about each artist's inspiration and technique and the compelling story behind each work of art. Houston Art Connective offers the ability to buy directly from local artists for your residence or commercial space. Hope to see you on July 21st from Noon-5pm.
Touching on many themes that would define the rest of his career—isolation, performance, the inescapability of the past—Ingmar Bergman’s tenth film, Summer Interlude, marks a gentle drift toward true mastery. Maj-Britt Nilsson beguiles as an accomplished ballet dancer haunted by her tragic youthful affair with a shy, handsome student (Birger Malmsten). Her memories of the sunny, rocky shores of Stockholm’s outer archipelago mingle with scenes from her gloomy present at the theater where she works.
A film that the director considered a creative turning point, Summer Interlude is a reverie about life and death that unites Bergman’s love of theater and cinema.
In Ingmar Bergman’s feature-directing debut, urban beauty-shop proprietress Miss Jenny arrives in an idyllic rural town one morning to whisk away her 18-year-old daughter, Nelly, whom she abandoned as a child, from the loving woman who has raised her. Once in Stockholm, Nelly receives a crash course in adult corruption and wrenching heartbreak. Crisis proved that Bergman had an incipient gift for developing characters and evoking atmosphere on-screen.