Friday, August 23, 2013

Smiles of a Summer Night

Smiles of a Summer Night

Sipping our drinks, waiting for our shrimp pizza on Paisan's outdoor patio under the full moon overlooking Monona Terrace we were smiling because we were still caught up in the magic of the movie we had just seen at UW Cinematheque -- a movie T and I first saw together when I was 16 and she was 15. It's long been one of my favorite movies of all time, a movie Pauline Kael called "a nearly perfect work" -- Ingmar Bergman's "Smiles of a Summer Night."

We've seen it many times, but it's been at least ten years and probably more like rwenty since I last saw it. I always wonder how an old movie I loved long ago will hold up when I see it now, but I needn't have worried. The film, shown in a glowing new 35mm black and white print, was as magically beguiling as ever. Bergman's bittersweet comedy about youth and age, life and love still weaves the same spell, transporting us to a midsummer's night in a distant, enchanted Scandinavian past.

T alluded to the changing relationship we have with movies we love for a long period of time when she said, "We laughed at all the same things back then, but for different reasons."

A magical moment, the great Eva Dahlbeck singing "Freut euch des Lebens" to a silent ensemble by candlelight:

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