Circus -- Sweden -- Drama, Circus owners -- Sweden -- Drama, Circus performers -- Sweden -- Drama, Man-woman relationships -- Sweden -- Drama, Mistresses -- Sweden -- Drama

Sawdust and Tinsel

(Gycklarnas afton)
(The Naked Night)

Digital Restoration

  • Lecture

    A professor in the Department of Scandinavian at UC Berkeley, Linda H. Rugg has written extensively on Ingmar Bergman.


Harriet Andersson, Åke Grönberg, Hasse Ekman, Anders Ek,

Bergman’s earliest evocation of the theater of humiliation, Sawdust and Tinsel is a portrait of turn-of-the-century itinerant circus performers who are figures of ritual mortification before their public and, in a day and night of unmasking, before each other as well. The circus owner, Albert (Åke Grönberg), and his bareback-rider girlfriend, Anne (Harriet Andersson), receive rejections from, respectively, an ex-wife and a scornful actor from the more “respectable” provincial theater. Their disgrace and redemption are mirrored in a dreamlike flashback, which in turn finds its resolution in a dream of return and reunion. Through the deus ex machina of the cinema, the film is lifted from its sad subject by extraordinary cinematography in which many a Bergman trope finds its genesis: dressing-room mirrors turn an individual into her own twin, a couple into a complexity of faces, making the search for meaning in another human being a virtual gauntlet. Bergman’s players truly earn their bows.

Judy Bloch
  • Ingmar Bergman
  • Hilding Bladh
  • Göran Strindberg
  • Sven Nykvist
  • Swedish
  • with English subtitles
Print Info
  • B&W
  • DCP
  • 92 mins
  • Janus Films

CineFiles is an online database of BAMPFA's extensive collection of documentation covering world cinema, past and present.

View Sawdust and Tinsel documents  

Winter light: A tribute to Ingmar Bergman (program note), Harvard Film Archive, 2008

Ingmar Bergman (1918-2007) (article), Reader (Chicago, Ill.), 2007

Ingmar Bergman's magic lantern: life as art in retrospect (program note), Hopkins Center of Dartmouth College, Ulrike Rainer, 1988

The naked night (review), Facets Multimedia, 1983

Sawdust and tinsel (review), Village Voice, Tom Allen, 1983

The naked night (distributor materials), Janus Films, 1973

Sawdust & tinsel (program note), College of William and Mary. Festival Film Society, John Russell Taylor, 1967

Sawdust and tinsel (program note), University of Oregon. University Film Society., Ray McKnight, 1963

Sawdust and tinsel (program note), Wisconsin Film Society, Joop Doorman, 1960

The naked night (review), Twin Cities Film Society, George Amberg, 1959

Displaying 10 of 17 publicly available documents.

View all Sawdust and Tinsel documentation on CineFiles.