Wednesday, October 18, 2017

JUNE NIGHT - FILMSTRUCK/CRITERION CHANNEL

This review originally appeared on DVDTalk.com as part of the Ingrid Bergman in Sweden set released in 2011.


June Night was the last film Ingrid Bergman made in her native Sweden before moving to Hollywood. This 1940 Per Lindberg picture is pretty straight soap opera, with Bergman playing a girl named Kerstin, who, in the movie's first scene, is shot by her boyfriend (Gunnar Sjöberg) when she tries to walk out on him. A trial and small-town scandal follows, and so Kerstin changes her name and moves to Stockholm to start over. She swears off her wanton ways, but this new leaf will be tested when she catches the eye of a handsome doctor (Olof Widgren) and also runs across the nosy reporter (Hasse Ekman) that sensationalized her story and dubbed her "the wounded swan." Both men become obsessed with her, and both are dating galpals of Kerstin's--the nurse (Marianne Löfgren) that helped her when she got to Stockholm and one of Kerstin's roommates (Marianne Aminoff). All these affairs come to a head the night the shooter comes to visit and the many romantic lines intersect.


June Night is a little slow. The script, written by Ragnar Hyltén-Cavallius from a novel by Tora Nordström-Bonnier, relies heavily on coincidences and never delves very far into its characters. Unfortunately, this is especially true for Kerstin, who gets less introspection and development than the side characters; Bergman's charisma and screen presence are all that fuel the portrayal, and the actress brings a gravitas to the role that wouldn't otherwise be there. I suppose Lindberg and Hyltén-Cavallius could be striving to make Kerstin an unknowable and mysterious figure, which might lend some explanation to why everyone is so fascinated by her (and why she does so much damage without even trying), but if so, it doesn't really work.



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