The maverick producer Lorens Marmstedt gave Bergman the go ahead for this avowedly experimental feature, but only if he shot it for next to nothing on short-ends and rationed lighting. Based in and around a movie studio, it has director Ekman encouraging journalist Malmsten as he works through an autobiographical screenplay based on his relationship with an ill-fated prostitute (Svedlund), driven to despair by her bitter experiences. Their brief idyll and her subsequent pregnancy unfold as a film within the film, fascinating not only for its thematic tussle between the attraction of suicide and the comfort of faith in the face of brutalising existence, but for its stylistic endeavour, including a surreal nightmare and a niftily mocked-up silent movie farce (fragments of which turn up again in Persona) both strongly shadowed by the premonition of mortality. The connecting narrative isn't really strong enough to integrate all this turmoil, but Bergman displays a keen appetite for innovative expression.
Cast and crew