Bergman's second feature is a playful but rather ill-advised blend of rainswept miserablism and laborious whimsy. Kollberg and Malmsten are thrown together in adversity, since she's pregnant and homeless, and he has just been released from prison with only spare change in his pocket. An apparently deserted country cottage gives them a chance to set up housekeeping, but the landlord, church and bureaucracy obstruct the couple's future happiness. Shadowing their path, however, is Cederlund's omniscient and possibly otherworldly narrator, who acts as surprise counsel for the defence as the lovers' fate is decided in court. His beneficent paternalism and the drawn, faux-naif chapter headings sit uneasily beside the catalogue of misfortunes passing for a plot. Indeed, the film's jesting quality is almost an admission it might not stand close scrutiny. Look out for Gunnar Björnstrand's first Bergman appearance in an unlikely comic role as a silly ass functionary.
Cast and crew
|Screenwriter:||Ingmar Bergman, Herbert Grevenius|