I guess that my irritation stemmed from your calling much of the film neorealist, which for me is a very special 'philosophy' of realism going along with all those tenets about location shooting, amateur actors, low-class life, social problems etc. and special prescriptions of DOs and DON'Ts by Zavattini on top of it. In a more general sense, the film of course is 'realist', but realism is such a broad and largely undefinable term that you can use it to describe almost anything. I'd call "Summer with Monica" neo-realist perhaps.sevenarts wrote: This film may be about characters who are involved in theatrical pursuits, but much of the film strikes me as realist in its basic techniques.
Sure, but think of that extraordinary sequence when Grönberg and Andersson first walk down the town streets in order to go to the theatre, and in which they both consciously put on a theatrical mask of respectability, with Harriet swaggering her ass et al. On one level this is realistic (these are normal people behaving theatrically to achieve a certain goal), on the other hand the sequence makes clear that there is always theatre, in the sense of people always putting on 'performances'. When Grönberg goes to meet his ex-wife, Andersson also performs a 'theatrical act' to make him stay with her. This of course happens in real life all the time, but it is still a 'performance'. My whole idea is that Bergman in this film highlights such moments consciously, with the dream sequence preparing us for this inseparability of acting and life, and of life and dream. The film for me is less concerned with telling a story, but is in a way a meditation on the relation between these three things: life, theatre and dream(s). And as such, it works perfectly for me. This also explains the long monologues and speeches, with Bergman addressing the subject from various angles and viewpoints over and over again.sevenarts wrote: Bergman was always interested in the theater, and this film is no exception, but in this case a lot of the film looks at the realm of the theater from a realist perspective. The great bulk of the film is very much down to earth, grounded in the everyday realities of these characters, who happened to be involved in the circus and the theater.
Yes, let's be happy to disagreesevenarts wrote:I definitely wouldn't argue too strenuously with anyone who likes the film, though. It's not bad by any means, and there's a lot that I did like in it, although the whole was somewhat less than the sum of its parts for me.
I only hope that nobody will be discouraged to buy the disc, as I'm still worried about the relative silence here. When "Sawdust" was first announced (by Tartan) I had the feeling that many people here and elsewhere were eagerly waiting for it, and that the film had quite a reputation as an early masterpiece that however only a handful of people ever had the chance to see before. And now the CC release seems to have passed almost unnoticed, while I was expecting - given the number of Bergmanites here - "Sawdust" to be one of the strongest contenders for CC disc of the year. But it seems to be otherwise.