Summer with Monika

Harry and Monika, a footloose young couple from the city slums, steal a boat and spend a brief ecstatic summer on an island in the Stockholm archipelago. But autumn looms and food and cash run out. Remarkable for its direct, almost documentary style, its erotic candour and the hoydenish performance of Harriet Andersson (who became not only Bergman’s mistress but also the vital pulse in several of his greatest achievements on screen), the film underlines Bergman’s vision of life as a blend of sensual thrill and misery. Monika is cynical, vicious, animalistic, and consistently erotic. She is the naked epitome of a series of characters in Bergman’s work who are realistic and bitter in outlook. Harry is portrayed in a sensitive light in order to stress his inferior strength of character. He is the romantic, and like the romantics in Zola’s novels, he is utterly humiliated in the end.
English subtitles.
Black and white.
97 mins.

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