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.


THE MAGICIAN
ANSIKTET
1958, Janus Films, 101 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

This engaging, brilliantly conceived tale of deceit from one of cinema’s premier illusionists stars Max von Sydow as Dr. Vogler, a 19th-century traveling mesmerist and peddler of potions, whose magic is put to the test in Stockholm by the cruel, eminently rational royal medical adviser Dr. Vergérus. The result is a diabolically clever battle of wits that’s both frightening and funny, shot in rich, gorgeously gothic black-and-white.


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