Night Is My Future

116. NIGHT IS MY FUTURE (1947-Sweden). With MAI ZETTERLING, BIRGER MELMSTEN. Directed by INGMAR BERGMAN. One Of the first films by the great Swedish director: a moving drama Of a musician tragically blinded in an accident, and farced to adjust to a new world Of perpetual darkness. Coming from a comfortable upper-class existence, he is brought down to unaccustomed subservience. After being rejected by a prestigious music academy, he gets a job playing piano in a restaurant, where he’s humiliated by the boorish owner and exploited or robbed by others. Driven to the depths Of despair, he finally gains renewed faith in life by studying to become a church organist, and by finding the love Of a beautiful, simple woman (whom he spurned earlier because he thought she merely pitied him). In this early work, Bergman already exhibits his sensitivity to psychology, and his ability to evoke worlds Of emotion from a human face. Although the film is not as bold cinematically as Bergman’s later works, the sequence-where the musician loses his sightÑa nightÂmare/hallucination in which he falls through a strange landscape dominated by a gigantic eye, drowns in a pool Of bubbling mud filled with terrifying, groping hands, and floats helplessly in a sea Of huge fishÑis a startlingly original tour-de-force Of surrealistic filmmaking that points the way to the director’s subsequent masÂterpieces. In Swedish with English subtitles. 87 minutes. Drama