Port of Call
Nine-Christine Jönsson, Bengt Eklund, Berta Hall, Erik Hell,
The young and restless Bergman tries yet another filmic tradition with this human story in the neorealist mode: “I still had nothing of my own to offer. . . . I just grabbed helplessly at any form that might save me.” The result is a naturalistic city film, in which one finds the closest thing to overt social critique in Bergman’s entire oeuvre. Here the issues facing the young working-class girl Berit are a grotesquely hypocritical mother, a troubled past, difficulties building a future with her present lover, and a friend who dies after a back-alley abortion. Especially noteworthy in comparison with the other early Bergman films is the fact that the main characters choose a narrative resolution in real life instead of in some extra-social, extra-narrative space. The cinematographer who helped capture the grittiness of the waterfront milieu here is newcomer Gunnar Fischer, who became Bergman’s main photographer throughout the 1950s.