WAITING WOMEN
KVINNORS VÄNTAN
1952, Janus Films, 107 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

An early precursor to many Bergman classics - indicated by both its flashback structure and comedic timing - WAITING WOMEN is a charming film about three sisters who deliver personal accounts of the state of their marriages, ranging from brutally honest to genuinely funny and sweet. Known primarily for a hilarious flashback sequence involving a broken elevator, the film’s subtler humor is just as memorable, pointing toward the minimalism and restraint that Bergman would demonstrate throughout his career.


A LESSON IN LOVE
EN LEKTION I KÄRLEK
1954, Janus Films, 95 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

One of Bergman’s most satisfying marital comedies stars the droll and sparkling duo of Eva Dahlbeck and Gunnar Björnstrand as a couple deep into their married years and seeking fresh pastures. A gynecologist (Björnstrand) falls for one of his patients (Yvonne Lombard), while his wife (Dahlbeck) flounces off to Copenhagen to renew her fling with a sculptor (Åke Grönberg). Deftly interspersing scenes of farce with interludes of tranquil reflection, A LESSON IN LOVE serves as a cocktail before the full-blown comic brilliance of SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT the following year.


THE DEVIL’S EYE
DJÄVULENS ÖGA
1960, Janus Films, 84 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

This sophisticated fantasy - the last Bergman film to be shot by the great Gunnar Fischer - is an engaging satire on petit-bourgeois morals. The Devil suffers from an inflamed eye, which he informs Don Juan (Jarl Kulle) can only be cured if a young woman’s chastity is breached. So the legendary lover ascends from Hell and sets about seducing the innocent pastor’s daughter, Britt-Marie (Bibi Andersson). Bergman’s dialogue bubbles with an irony reminiscent of his beloved Molière, and the music of Domenico Scarlatti (played by Bergman’s fourth wife, Käbi Laretei) underscores the joy that invests much of the film.


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