Ingmar Bergman tells a story that is in many ways reminiscent of Long Day’s Journey into Night. Pic deals with four members of a family who are estranged through their inability to express feelings for each other. The action is limited to 24 hours. The time is the nightless Scandinavian summer and the setting is an isolated island in the Baltic. Not a pleasant film, it is a great one.
Main character is Karin (Harriet Andersson), who is suffering from a mental ailment. Released from a mental institution, she seeks the security of her childhood, the love of her father, David (Gunnar Bjornstrand), and her 17-year-old brother, Fredrick (Lars Passgard). She turns more and more away from her husband Martin (Max von Sydow), a doctor and instructor at a medical school.
In a boat for a day of fishing, Karin and her brother confide inner secrets to one another. The day of youthful fun-making comes to a tragic end when Karin madly seduces her brother.
The Bergman message comes at the end when David speaks personally to his son that he believes: ‘God exists in love, in every sort of love, maybe God is love.’
1961: Best Foreign Language Film