The Criterion Collection has released outstanding Blu-ray editions of two relatively early Ingmar Bergman films, Summer Interlude and Summer with Monika. It’s appropriate for their releases to coincide with one another, as there is more than a passing thematic similarity between the two films.
Summer with Monika tells the simple story of a young man and woman, both in their late teens, who run away from dead-end jobs to share a picture perfect summer together.
Two years prior to Summer with Monika, Bergman explored somewhat similar thematic territory with Summer Interlude. On the most superficial level, both films involve the sometimes deceptively sunny time of year when people—particularly young people—seek to escape humdrum reality. But on a deeper level, both films examine loss. Just as Harry begins to lose control of his relationship with Monika, Interlude’s Marie (Maj-Britt Nilsson) endures the end of her summer romance with Henrik (Birger Malmsten). Interlude switches between Marie the carefree teenager and Marie the adult professional ballet dancer.