Summer Interlude REVIEW
Today’s movie was from the archives; Ingmar Bergman’s 1951 Summer Interlude a movie about the tragedy of losing a first great love in life. The film’s plot is not complicated and its characters, Marie and Henrik, are not complex. A young ballet dancer falls in love with a young college student one summer near the ocean. They converse, they play, they go for walks and swims, and trysts. But Eden is only Eden if you get to stay there forever I guess.
All great loves appear to be one fatal decision away from being obliterated.
Most of the film takes place fifteen years later as Marie makes an attempt to dig herself out of a fifteen year period of mourning. “Now all the clocks in the house have stopped and the flowers in the windows have wilted and died,” she says of life after losing young love. “We were alive in those days, and there were red geraniums and the clocks ticked away.” Several times, Marie speaks of life as over in this same fashion. “Everyone is alive,” she says. “They run around in the streets and here I am eating and drinking.” The psychological term for Marie’s condition is “anhedonia” – an inability to feel the pleasures of life.
The film highlights the problems of life after Eden. Life can seem to have no meaning. Life can seem to have no life. God seems to be dead or antagonistic to you. Decisions seem impossible. “You don’t dare take your makeup off and you don’t dare put it on,” the ballet master says to Marie. “There is only one thing you can do,” Marie’s uncle Earland says to her, “Protect yourself Build a wall around yourself so the misery can’t get to you. I’ll help you. Ill help you build your wall.”
And ultimately, after doing so, Marie realizes that rather than obtaining protection from harm by these walls, she was locked in away from life.
And the movie leaves you with the idea that she may be ready to open up to what life has to offer again.
Question for Comment: What are the causes and cures of anhedonia in your own life?