For Ingmar Bergman’s fifth film (and second in the archives) he finds himself on the docks again just like 1947’s A Ship to India.
Unlike directors in the 21st century, Bergman is allowed to learn as he goes as a burgeoning auteur- sort of like a working apprenticeship as he makes at least a film every year. Most directors now would be fifteen to twenty years into their career (at least) by the time they made their fifth film.
Nine-Christine Jonsson plays Berit- a suicidal girl with a cold “reforming” mother. When the story flashes back (almost every Bergman film during this stretch includes flashback sequences) there are some pretty raw domestic arguments for 1948 cinema between Berit’s parents.
Bergman’s camera is fairly active- there is a nice tracking shot through walls going left to right- first in Gosta’s (Bengt Eklund) home, then in Berit’s. Later, Bergman again will push the camera left to right on the factory floor.
This is a romance- and since this is Bergman- it is dark story- a seemingly fated romance.
At the 57-minute mark during a flashback—Bergman uses a swinging light on a string behind the driving action—great foreground/background attention.
Nudity in a film in 1948- this is five years before his boundary-pushing Summer with Monika. Here in Port of Call, it is the girls in the reformatory. At the 62-miunte mark there is a strong composition with Berit smelling perfume in the foreground right. In the middle depth right-center there is a girl smoking- and in the background left center there is a girl feeling the undergarments Lastly, during that same composition, the fourth girl with two bare legs is middle depth left of the frame.
The very next shot includes two great dueling heads in a frame.
At the 70-minute mark- the mother is foreground right, Gosta is center depth and center frame with Berit background left as Bergman stages the door ajar to fit perfectly.
Abortion, suicide attempt- this is a bleak film (at least for the vast majority of it).
In a satisfying shot- Bergman pulls the camera back on a man to reveal him ravaged by alcoholism.
An upbeat ending that feels like a bad studio decision
Leave A Comment