David and I are back with another episode of The Eclipse Viewer, the podcast dedicated to the Criterion Collection’s Eclipse Series of DVDs.
In this episode, we talk about the first three films included in Eclipse Series 1: Early Bergman, a five-film set. If you’ve followed this blog over the past year, you know that I am a big fan of Ingmar Bergman, so I am thrilled to be covering these early works. While they are not nearly the masterpieces he would direct later in his career, these films are still worthwhile on their own but especially as an exploration into Bergman’s development.
The first film we talk about, Torment (1944), though in a way Bergman’s first film, actually was not directed by Bergman but by Alf Sjöberg. Bergman wrote it. It’s a moody schoolboy story that apparently actually did lead to investigations into how schools were run in Sweden at the time.
Crisis (1946), the next feature, is Bergman’s directorial debut. He takes us to a small town where Miss Ingeborg has been raising Nelly as her own daughter. One day, when Nelly is around eighteen, her real mother shows up from the city, bringing quite a bit of baggage though also offering Nelly an escape. This film offers an early Bergman study on the relationship between love and selfishness.
The third feature is Port of Call (1948), Bergman’s foray into neo-realism. This film begins on the docks: Gösta is a sailor on leave, just returning to land and trying to get his feet on the ground; Berit is first shown walking off the pier, seeking her own demise, but she is rescued. They find each other at a crowded dance, though Gösta is sorely tempted to leave her when he discovers Berit has a past.
Please find the podcast, the shownotes, and plenty of links over at CriterionCast here.
In the next episode of The Eclipse Viewer, which will be coming out soon since we recorded it already, David and I will be finishing our discussion of Eclipse Series 1: Early Bergman, covering the final two films in the set, Thirst (1949), and To Joy (1949).