The onscreen relationships reflected Bergman's own dwindling affair with Harriet Andersson who plays the mercurial fashion model Doris opposite the more statuesque Eva Dahlbeck as Susanne, a fashion photographer who is using Doris for a new campaign.
On a day in Gothenburg, both women confront the limits of happiness. Susanne suggested the location as that's where her married lover lives and Doris, wandering around the city, meets Otto, an older, wealthy man who lavishes presents on her, doing so because she reminds him of his now-insane wife.
But Otto rejects Doris after a visit from his sarcastic daughter while Susanne's happiness at being reunited with her lover is dashed when his wife appears.
Exquisite performances from Dahlbeck, Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand as Otto and Kerstin Hedeby as his daughter Marianne.
Shelf or charity shop? Shelf, in a Bergman box-set