Director: Ingmar Bergman
Starring: Ulla Jacobsson, Eva Dahlbeck, Gunnar Bjornstrand, Jarl Kulle
Duration: 108 min.
In turn-of-the-century Sweden, four men and four women attempt to navigate the laws of attraction. During a weekend in the country, the women collude to force the men’s hands in matters of the heart, exposing their pretensions and insecurities along the way.
Smiles of a Summer Night is a film written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. The first internationally successful film for Bergman, it was awarded the Grand Prix for best comedy at the 9th Cannes Film Festival in 1956.
An unusually light and cheerful film from Bergman, Smiles of a Summer Night is a romantic comedy that follows a group of couples on a weekend in the country. It is delightful to watch, with beautiful period costumes, set pieces, and an absolutely stunning female cast. The acting, staged much like a theatrical play works well here, and there are some witty exchanges and some rather risque scenes and dialog for a mid 50s film. Though the story isn't as charming, funny, or as clever as I hoped.
The newly released Criterion Collection Blu-Ray is good but not quite as impressive as their other releases of late, with some minor graininess and lighting issues here and there, but still a very high quality picture. Overall, Smiles of a Summer Night is an interesting watch for fans of Bergman, but not essential viewing.