WORLD CINEMA: Summer with Monika (1953)

For my second installment of the WORLD CINEMA series, how about we have a stroll through Sweden’s working class towns with Ingmar Bergman’s Summer with Monika (1953)?

A refreshingly honest look at teenage love beyond its summer timeframe, Summer with Monika follows a young teenage couple, Harry (Lars Ekborg) and Monika (Harriet Andersson) as they spend an idyllic summer together sailing on Harry’s father’s boat, away from their hometown, family and boring jobs. When the summer comes to an end, however, and Monika discovers she’s pregant, they are left with the growing responsibilities that neither of them could have predicted.

Summer with Monika has one of Bergman’s simplest plots while holding so much meaning at the same time and exploring its contrasting elements effectively: Monika’s carefree rebellion vs Harry’s responsible easy-going attitude, the town’s old-fashioned ways vs the couple’s desire to be free, and, of course, the longing for a summer love affair vs what happens when it’s over and life returns… Framed by some of the most gorgeous cinematography ever put on film, Summer with Monika puts Harriet Andersson right in the middle of it, with its candid depiction of sensuality and nudity, which was very controversial at the time. Not only that but it also deserves credit for making its main character unlikeable, unashamed and human. In one of the movie’s most devastating scenes, Monika dares you to judge her with an intense, piercing look at the camera that takes the whole ‘breaking the fourth wall’ motif to a whole new level! In a word, stunning.

6 thoughts on “WORLD CINEMA: Summer with Monika (1953)

  1. Mike Noonan

    I will wait till I see the movie before I read it. Just ordered it from my library. Should be seeing “ la strada “ next weekend. My librarian must think I’m a man of “ culture “, lol

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Mike Noonan

    You captured the film perfectly Carol. It was a very honest portrayal. I give Bergman credit for not giving in to making the female lead likable. You’re right about the cinematography- beautiful the way it just lingers on in certain scenes- no rush to get to the next scene.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I heard about that Bergman film but haven’t seen it yet. You definitely make it sound worth watching and special! When I studied in Stockholm we watched another film that I believe was similar (well, my teacher compared it to Summer with Monika): One Summer of Happiness.

    Liked by 1 person

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