Thursday, November 15, 2007

Summer with Monika

Jim Hoberman and Manohla Dargis on the delightful early film by Ingmar Bergman Summer with Monika.

"When the film first opened in America, it played in art houses and grindhouses, raising temperatures as “Summer With Monika” and “Monika: The Story of a Bad Girl.” It’s possible that many viewers (including the young Woody Allen) saw a shortened version that was peddled on the exploitation circuit as “A Picture for Wide Screens and Broad Minds.” (That may explain why this paper didn’t review it.) It’s unclear which “Monika” was seized in 1956 by the Los Angeles vice squad, which declared it indecent. A representative for the theater explained that it was an “art type.” Well, of course."

I first saw it at a mini Bergman retrospective in Bangalore. I don't know whose idea was it to screen it back to back with Cries and Whispers. First fantasize about Harriet Andersson's body and then soon get to hear her screams of death-agony. I could hardly walk after the screening. (Earlier in the day there was The Virgin Spring.)

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