Sunday, August 28, 2016

Dvd/150: GYCKLARNAS AFTON (Sawdust and Tinsel) (Ingmar Bergman, 1953)

Bergman's first real focus on the psychological shadows of desire was in GYCKLARNAS AFTON (Sawdust and Tinsel) set in a ramshackle travelling circus at the turn of the last century.

This also marked the first time Bergman worked with cinematographer Sven Nykvist who keeps Harriet Andersson luminously photographed - she is effortlessly subversive as Anne, the circus rider who is the mistress of the dour ring-master Albert.

When the circus visits the town where Albert's estranged wife and sons live, he makes Anne jealous by saying he wishes to see them.  They ask the town theatre for some costumes but first must endure the disdain of the director and, for Anna, the attention of a letcherous actor.

Albert's wife refuses his offer to return while Anna sleeps with the actor, both actions leave them unhappy.  When the theatre company visit the circus, humiliation and sadness are top of the bill.

Shelf or charity shop?  It's not an easy watch - particularly because of a punchable clown - but as it's part of a Bergman box-set I will keep it - and also because of the magnicent performance by Harriet Andersson's cat...

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