Summer with Ingmar


Ilse van der Spoel


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On the occasion of Ingmar Bergman’s centennial in July 2018, I explore the role of summer in his films, particularly Summer Interlude (1951), Summer with Monika (1953), Through a Glass Darkly (1960) and Persona (1965). His ‘summer’ films always start as the idyllic endless summer: an attempt at escape from bleak lives for Harry and Monika, a first summer love for Marie found in Henrik, and a chance at recovery for Karin and Elisabet. However, these seemingly endless summers tend to quickly turn ‘Bergmanian’, with darkness appearing like dark clouds before the sun, and tension always readily brooding in the character’s minds and lives, only to fully explode into hysteria, violence and mental and physical suffering, shattering the illusion of those carefree summers in ways only Bergman could do it.