Produced by Bergman and dealing with tensions between a family and friends gathered in the country to celebrate midsummer's eve, Gunnel Lindblom's debut as a director seemed all too likely to fall foul of terminal Swedish gloom. But she is clearly too talented and sensitive to be heavy-handed about her ideas, and the film carries an affecting sense of its characters' continuing existence outside the film's time/space. From reactionary father and middle-aged doctor daughter to disturbed adolescent, Lindblom displays a serious commitment to portraying complex human behaviour and emotions. There are no facile answers here; there is as fine a depiction of family life, friendship, and especially middle-age, as one is likely to see on film. Any occasional unsureness of tone is easily overcome by superb central performances from Valberg and Ruud.