SOMMARLEK is one of a number of Swedish summer movies that celebrate the beauty of the brief midsummer’s night weeks. Here the film is about the main character finding herself after having devoted her life entirely to her art after the tragic death of her first great love, Henrik (Birger Malmsten).
Marie (Maj-Britt Nilsson) is the prima ballerina of the Stockholm ballet. At the dress rehearsal of “Swan Lake” she receives a package containing a booklet – the diary that Henrik wrote during the summer of their encounter on one of the skerries off Stockholm. After a quarrel with her boyfriend David Nyström (Alf Kjellin), Marie, on a whim, catches a boat to that island. There she remembers the summer with Henrik. The camera (by Gunnar Fischer) lingers on Marie, young, fresh and alive, who bewilders and thrills her adoring friend, pushes him away and then binds him to her with their first kiss. They lie on the beach and eat wild strawberries. Only Marie’s Uncle Erland, who covets her, disturbs the perfect idyll.
Back in Stockholm the slowly ageing prima ballerina studies herself in the mirror: her face has become a mask, the mask of art. She has only a few years left as a dancer, says the ballet master, dressed in his costume as the magician Dr. Coppelius. But by reencountering her past, Marie has gained new strength to carry on her present life.
by Ingmar Bergman
with Maj-Britt Nilsson, Birger Malmsten, Alf Kjellin