Ingmar Bergman

12 Sep

Bergman is a lifelong crush that took me to Sweden & Norway in college  where I tried to do my best to soak up all his influences.    These 3 scenes between Frid  & Petra in Smiles of a Summer Night explain the 3 smiles of the summer night.  Beautiful on the page, magical in film:


Frid empties a mug of foaming beer. He sits comfort­ably, leaning back against the cushions of the open car­riage, while Petra rests against his hairy chest. They have a wide view through the open door of the shed, out over meadows and plowed fields and verdant farms. Frid points with his mug toward the horizon, which is beginning to lighten with dawn.

FRID: Look, little one, the summer night is smiling.

PETRA: Just think, you’re a poet too.

FRID: Oh yes! The summer night has three smiles, and this is the first—between midnight and daybreak—when young lovers open their hearts and bodies. Can you see it back there at the horizon, a smile so soft that one has to be very quiet and watchful to see it at all?

PETRA: The young lovers . . .

Tears come to Petra’s eyes and she sighs.

FRID: Did you have a pang of the heart, my little pudding?

PETRA: Why have I never been a young lover? Can you tell me that?

FRID: Oh, my dear, don’t feel sorry! There are only a very few young lovers on this earth. Yes, one can almost count them. Love has smitten them both as a gift and as a pun­ishment.

PETRA: And we others?

FRID: We others … Ha!

He makes a violent gesture with his beer mug and smiles to himself, so that his icy-blue eyes sparkle. He lays a large hand on Petra’s round, girlish head.

PETRA: Yes, what becomes of us?

FRID: We invoke love, call out for it, beg for it, cry for it, try to imitate it, think that we have it, lie about it.

PETRA: But we don’t have it.

FRID: No, my sugar plum. The love of lovers is denied to us. We don’t have the gift.

PETRA: Nor the punishment.


Now it is just before dawn. A light mist lies over the water like a puff of smoke. The morning breeze stirs the birches. The birds tune up their morning song.  Frid rises from the hay stack where he has lain with Petra. He takes a deep breath and raises his arm in an ex­pansive gesture.

FRID: Now the summer night smiles its second smile:  for the clowns, the fools, the unredeemable.

PETRA: Then she smiles for us.

FRID: Are you thirsty? Do you want a beer?

PETRA: I said that she smiles for us.

FRID: I agree. (Drinks) Now she smiles for us.

PETRA: Will you marry me?

FRID: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

PETRA: An hour ago you said that you wanted to—

FRID: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! That was then.

Petra looks up. Then she gives him a strong slap across his face, but he continues to laugh.

PETRA: You shall marry me.

FRID: Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! You’re a strong little sugar plum.

Petra becomes furious and continues to pound him with her fists, shaking him like a pillowcase.

petra (furious): You shall marry me. You shall marry me.

You shall! You shall! You shall!

FRID: This is what I call love. Ha-ha-ha-ha!

They tumble around in the hay in a wild and affection­ate fight.


Petra has straddled Frid and holds him by the ears. He laughs and snorts. Both of them are out of breath and ex­cited. The dust from the hay rises up like a cloud around them in the strong sunlight.

PETRA: Do you promise to marry me?

FRID: Ouch! I’ll promise if you let go of my ears.

PETRA: No. First promise.

FRID: I promise. Ouch.

PETRA: Swear by everything you hold sacred.

FRID: By my manhood, I swear.

She lets go of him and gives him a hard slap on the cheek, then gets up, straightens her clothes and stretches.

PETRA: Then we can consider ourselves engaged?

frid (laughs): The fun is over. Now I’m on my way to hell.

PETRA: Rise and shine, fatso. The horses have to be curried.

He gets up and turns his face toward the sun, stretches out his arms and breathes deeply.

FRID: There isn’t a better life than this.

PETRA: And then the summer night smiled for the third time.

FRID: For the sad, the depressed, the sleepless, the con­fused, the frightened, the lonely.

PETRA: But the clowns will have a cup of coffee in the kitchen.

She has pulled off her shoes and stockings and walks barefoot through the dewy grass, holding her skirt high above her knees. Frid walks behind her, and the sight of her rounded thighs is so damn beautiful that he begins to sing.

One Response to “Ingmar Bergman”


  1. Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) Ingmar Bergman | Observation Blogger - March 14, 2014

    […] the full transcript here, which explains the 3 smiles of the summer […]

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