• Summer with Monika is remembered as being the discovery of the 21-year-old Harriet Andersson (playing Monika here).
  • Like much of Bergman’s work during this era, there are sequences that feel like a nostalgic look at young love- an ode to youth- “spring is here” and passion is high. Monika and Harry (Lars Ekbord) are in love, or at least lust. This is Bergman though, so the harsh, cold realities are not far behind. There is not a direct lineage between Bergman and neorealism, but how could any ambitious auteur in this era not be at least a little influenced by the Italians? Monika and Harry hate their jobs and home life, and they are almost like lovers on the run without committing a crime (for a time at least)- sort of Badlands meets L’Atalante.  Idyllic- but soon interrupted by jealousy as an ex-lover of Monika sets fire to the boat. A series of mishaps follow, and it all comes crashing down. Like the work of the Italians, there is hunger, theft (Bicycle Thieves), and even a baby crying and the realities of domestic life.

A strong arrangement of the frame at the 32-minute mark with Harry captured by Bergman’s camera behind the glassware as he quits his job to run off with Monika.

  • Bergman bounces the proceeding action with intermittent shots off the sky.

The same high angles of the boat and crisp reflection off the water as 1951’s Summer Interlude.

Bergman’s camera dotes on Andersson. Poor Ekbord is even cropped out of the frame essentially at times. It is hard to blame Bergman, she does have an undeniable screen presence.

A brilliant composition at the 50-minute mark with Andersson sprawled out on the skimmer with her top exposed. This honest depiction of sexuality was of course in stark contrast to the censorship in Hollywood. It was a sort of commercial breakthrough for Bergman (at least in the US) mostly because of the nudity.

At the 82-minute mark when Monika steps out on her husband while he works, Andersson looks dead at the camera and in a dazzling sequence, Bergman turns the lights out behind her.

  • At the 87-minute mark Monika is foreground right with Harry background left. And Bergman returns to the shot at the 82-minute mark only this time it is Ekbord who stares at the camera while the background goes black, and his mind returns to that idyllic summer with the composition of Andersson on the boat repeated.
  • A Highly Recommend/Must-See borderline film