Thursday, June 04, 2015

Dreams (1955 film)

Written and directed by Ingmar Bergman, Kvinnodrom (Dreams) is the story of a model agency owner and a young model who go to a city for an assignment as the two embark on different journeys to find themselves. The film plays into the world of two different women who both endure elements of heartbreak as they both wonder if they can find anything that can help them. Starring Harriet Andersson, Eva Dahlbeck, and Gunnar Bjornstrand. Kvinnodrom is a compelling yet rapturous film from Ingmar Bergman.

The film revolves two different women who travel to a small town in Sweden for a modeling assignment as they both cope with heartbreak during the trip. One of which is the head of a modeling agency in Susanne (Eva Dahlbeck) and the other is a young model named Doris (Harriet Andersson) as they travel from Stockholm to Gothenburg as they each embark on different journeys. For Susanne, she copes with an affair with a married man in Henrik (Ulf Palme) that isn’t going anywhere while Doris had just broken up with her boyfriend as she meets an aging consul named Otto (Gunnar Bjornstrand) as she spends the day with him where he buys her lavish gifts. Ingmar Bergman’s screenplay not only reveals the anguish of heartbreak for these two women but also into what they want for themselves.

All of which is largely told in the span of an entire day in Gothenburg, with the exception of the film’s beginning and end, that plays into these disparate desires that these two women want. Doris is a young woman that broke up with her boyfriend all because he doesn’t want her to go to Gothenburg as her encounter with Otto starts off fine until she notices why Otto is intrigued by her as it also relates to his own family drama. For Susanne, she would spend part of the day watching Henrik’s home from afar wondering if she could have that life of a family. Bergman’s approach to structure is very unique where much of the second act plays into Doris’ time with Otto and the third is about Susanne’s meeting with Henrik where the relationship is going as it would play into not just what Susanne wants but also what Doris wants for herself after her encounter with Otto.

Bergman’s direction is very entrancing for the way he tells the story as it is shot largely on location in Gothenburg in a full-frame aspect ratio. The direction has Bergman use a few wide shots to play into the compositions while creating something that does feel very lively for the scenes involving Doris and Otto. Most notably in how he shoots from her point of view where she is riding roller coasters and other rides that Otto takes her too. The direction also has some interesting compositions in the way it plays into the drama while also creating moments that are provocative as it relates to Susanne and her eventual meeting with Henrik. Bergman would maintain an air of suspense but also some moments of anguish as it plays to both Susanne and Doris coping with failed love and what they want. Even as it relates to the idea of fantasy of their desires but also contend with the harsh realities that their surrounded by. Overall, Bergman creates a very mesmerizing and fascinating film about two women dealing with heartbreak.

Cinematographer Hilding Blah does excellent work with the film‘s black-and-white photography to capture the vibrant look of the locations along with some intricate lighting for some scenes set at night to play into the drama. Editor Carl-Olov Skeppstedt does amazing work with the editing with its unconventional approach to rhythmic cuts for a few scenes as well as some straightforward yet methodical cuts to play into the drama. Production designer Gittan Gustafsson does brilliant work with the look of the hotel rooms that Susanne and Doris live in as well as the main room in Otto‘s home. The sound work of Olle Jacobsson is fantastic for capturing some of the intense dramatic moments including a scene where Susanne screams outside on a train though it’s only the sounds of the train that is heard along with some of the jazz music that is played on the film.

Finally, there’s the film’s superb cast as it includes notable small performances from Sven Lindberg as Doris’ boyfriend, Benkt-Ake Benktsson as a model gallery associate in the film’s opening and closing scenes, Inga Landgre as Henrik’s wife, and Kerstin Hedeby as Otto’s daughter whose visit is an eerie one as she would insult Doris greatly. Ulf Palme is excellent as Henrik as Susanne’s married lover who is unsure if he wants to continue the affair in order to be with his family yet is in love with Susanne. Gunnar Bjornstrand is fantastic as Otto as an old consul who falls for Doris as he lavishes her with gifts and takes her to his home only to be struck by reality from the appearance of his daughter.

Eva Dahlbeck is brilliant as Susanne as a modeling agency head who is in charge of an assignment as she copes with the turmoil over her relationship with Henrik as she wonders if they do have a future. Harriet Andersson is amazing as Doris as a young model dealing with a break-up as she is charmed and wooed by an aging consul only to realize how cruel the world is upon meeting his daughter.

Kvinnodrom is a remarkable film from Ingmar Bergman that features great performances from Eva Dahlbeck and Harriet Andersson. While it is one of his early triumphs and certainly a compelling exploration into heartbreak. It is also a film that manages to play into the way women are forced to look for love prompting them to find their own identities. In the end, Kvinnodrom is an exhilarating film from Ingmar Bergman.

Ingmar Bergman Films: (Crisis) - (It Rains on Our Love) - (A Ship to India) - (Music of Darkness) - (Port of Call) - (Prison) - (Thirst (1949 film)) - (To Joy) - (This Can’t Happen Here) - (Summer Interlude) - Secrets of Women - Summer with Monika - Sawdust and Tinsel - A Lesson in Love - Smiles of a Summer Night - The Seventh Seal - (Mr. Sleeman is Coming) - Wild Strawberries - (The Venetian) - (Brink of Life) - (Rabies) - The Magician - The Virgin Spring - The Devil’s Eye - Through a Glass Darkly - Winter Light - The Silence - All These Women - Persona - (Simulantia-Daniel) - Hour of the Wolf - (Shame (1968 film)) - (The Rite) - The Passion of Anna - (The Touch) - Cries & Whispers - Scenes from a Marriage - (The Magic Flute) - (Face to Face) - (The Serpent’s Egg) - Autumn Sonata - From the Life of the Marionettes - Fanny & Alexander - (After the Rehearsal) - (Karin’s Face) - (The Blessed Ones) - (In the Presence of a Clown) - (The Image Makers) - Saraband

© thevoid99 2015


Anonymous said...

So funny that you post this today, because I just watched this last week (I'm working on my 1955 Fisti Awards) and so it's fresh in my mind. For me, this was lesser Bergman, but it was still very well made, and the cast is exceptional, especially Inga Landgre and Kerstin Hedeby, who tore those supporting roles apart in the best kind of way!

thevoid99 said...

It maybe a lesser Bergman film and certainly my least favorite of his so far. Yet, it is still an amazing film and I will take a lesser or a mediocre Bergman film over most films.

Ruth said...

I need to put one Ingmar Bergman on my Blindspot next year. This one sounds intriguing, I like films that take place in a single day, it's tough to pull of however.

thevoid99 said...

@Ruth-While I think it's a minor Bergman film, it is still an excellent one not just for its premise but also in how provocative it is.