SECRETS OF WOMEN
Kvinnors Väntan (Ingmar Bergman 1952)
Optional subtitles in English & Portuguese
Four sisters-in-law are waiting at a lake-side resort for their husbands to arrive from town, and to pass the time, they begin to talk of their private lives. The first tells how she and her husband were drifting apart until she cuckolded him one afternoon. She tells him about it, and he falls into despair, threatening suicide. The wife disengages herself from both lover and husband, but in the end takes the husband back.
The second woman tells how she was seduced and romanced, bohemian style, in Paris. She has a child, and is then courted by the man through a crack under the door. She marries him after all.
The third sister-in-law is caught with her pompous industrialist husband in an elevator for the night. Their marriage, which has become a trial to boredom, comes once again alive as first they heckle each other, and then, for the night at least, come to love each other again.
The fourth sister-in-law sneaks away and elopes as the other three finish their stories.
"A film of marvellous moments, which linger rather longer in the memory than the structure holding them together. The framing device almost looks like a pretext: three women friends recall significant moments in their marriages as they await the arrival of their menfolk on an island summer home, while the elopement plans of a younger generation adds counterpoint. Björk's episode, which simmers into confrontation between a frigid spouse and dullard husband, is the least of them, but the final story, which finds sniping Dahlbeck and pompous Björnstrand realising a few serio-comic home truths when they get stuck in a lift overnight, may well be the most amusing 20 minutes in the whole Bergman canon. Possibly even more striking, however, is the film's emotional centrepiece, where Nilsson reveals how she reassessed her feelings for artist husband Malmsten as she lay in theatre about to deliver their first child. This largely wordless passage, gracefully eliding time through the fog of anaesthesia (and taking in a Parisian idyll which casts its shadow as far as the screenplay for Faithless), shows a masterful control of mood and an actress at her intuitive best. The bounty of Bergman's many superb female performances notwithstanding, it's a shame he never worked with Nilsson again."
? Trevor Johnston, Time Out
"It was one of the happiest experiences of my life, to hang about in the foyer of the Röda Kvarn Cinema and suddenly hear people inside howling with laughter. It was the first time in my life people had ever laughed at something I'd made?laughed like that. One of my bitterest enemies at SF [Svensk Filmindustri] came out. Coming up to me, he threw his arms round me and said 'It's an indescribable pleasure to...'"
? Ingmar Bergman, Bergman on Bergman