1955 ***** 109 mins.
Quite an uncharacteristically lighthearted film from Ingmar Bergman, Smiles of a Summer Night marks a major turning point in his personal life and career. Up to this point, his films had not been very successful, and he was in very poor health. He once said in an interview that he felt he had two choices: make Smiles of a Summer Night or commit suicide. I think it's safe to say that the world is quite blessed that he chose the former. Smiles of a Summer Night is inspired by Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. It tells the story of four men and four women who weave in and out of attraction to each other, each playing games both comical and dark (often at the same time). At first glance, it may not seem like Bergman at all, with all the gaiety and cheer that seem to exude from every frame, but when examined more closely, one can easily see the darkness behind the fluff, and the brilliance and signature of Bergman become quite clear. It is a great way to introduce someone to the cinema of Ingmar Bergman, and in The Criterion Collection's massive, impressive box set, Ingmar Bergman's Cinema, this is the first disc, labeled "Opening Night," as the gorgeous box set is arranged as a film festival.
Original theatrical aspect ratio: 1.33:1.
Written and Directed by