Known as BRINK OF LIFE in the USA, this film won the Cannes Festival Best Actress award shared between Ingrid Thulin, Eva Dahlbeck, Bibi Andersson and Barbro Hiort af Ornas, as well as the Best Director award for Bergman.
Although the film has all the traps of soap-level drama, Bergman's rigorous and spare direction of Ulla Isaksson's script gives it a quiet intensity.
His four leads also keep emotions reigned in and all give memorable performances. Thulin is Cecilia, a secretary who has had a miscarriage and recovers in a shared maternity room with two others, the irrepressibly happy Stina (Dahlbeck) who longs for her overdue baby and the withdrawn teenager Hjordis (Andersson) who has tried to abort hers. They are cared for by Hiort af Ornas' caring Nurse Brita.
Bergman regulars Max von Sydow and Erland Josephson play hapless husbands but, once again, the director's actresses shine magnificently.
Shelf or charity shop? For the wonderful actresses it's a definite keeper...