• Ingmar Bergman’s Dreams opens with a bold formal choice- there is a five-minute shot that is without dialogue- it is just silence and sound design. One can almost see Bergman sketching here for his later work, the superior 1963 The Silence – which on top of being about God’s silence, is, largely without dialogue. In Dreams, Susanne (Eva Dahlbeck) is a photographer and Doris (Harriet Andersson) is a model. Dreams is the story of these two women over the period of just one day.
  • Susanne has a lover (he is married) and she daydreams and follows him. There is a strong composition at the 18-minute mark as she is framed by the trees in a nearby park. Bergman’s storytelling flips to switch to follow the story of a wealthy older man (Gunnar Björnstrand) trying to seduce Doris. In one of Björnstrand’s scenes, his daughter (around the age of Doris) interrupts the seduction in process- and in true Bergman fashion says, “I find you ridiculous and repulsive.”

There is a strong composition at the 18-minute mark as Susanne (Dahlbeck) is framed by the trees in a nearby park.

There is a sublime composition at the 61-minute mark as Björnstrand and Andersson look out the window on screen left.

  • The story then swings back to Susanne again after a long absence- this comes across with confidence- more of a narrative choice than a lack of focus.
  • At the 70-minute mark the faces are staged perfectly to cut them in half with Dahlbeck background center with Henrik (played by Ulf Palme) foreground left in profile- this is a brilliant shot.
  • Bergman’s recurring themes: domestic strife, infidelity, discontentment.

At the 76-minute mark Susanne (Dahlbeck) is foreground left looking right. The wife of Henrik (Inga Landgré) is middle depth right and Henrik is background center. Bergman holds this shot like Kurosawa would. While Bergman is holding this stunner of a cinematic painting- Henrik’s wife absolutely fillets Susanne verbally.

  • After spending over an hour of the film’s running time apart, Susanne and Doris are back together in the same scene again- first in the hotel room and then at the photoshoot (coming full circle from the opening).
  • Dahlbeck is not remembered as one of the key members of Bergman’s acting trope like Björnstrand or Harriet Andersson. Dahlbeck never had a Summer with Monika- but during this stretch she is in Waiting Women, A Lesson in Love, Smiles of a Summer Night and this film, Dreams.
  • Highly Recommend