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A Lesson in Love

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Original title
En lektion i kärlek
Running time
96 min.
Sweden Sweden
Ingmar Bergman
Dag Wirén
Martin Bodin (B&W)
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Svensk Filmindustri
Comedy. Drama
Synopsis / Plot
En Lektion i Kärlek constitutes one of Ingmar Bergman's more overtly entertaining films. In this highly engaging comedy, Bergman reunites Gunnar Bjornstrand and Eva Dahlbeck, who had already teamed to great effect in the final, comic episode of Secrets of Women (1952), and he once again casts them as an amusingly antagonistic husband and wife. Bjornstrand's character, David Erneman, is a successful gynecologist who has jeopardized his sixteen-year marriage by entering into an affair with one of his patients. In retaliation, his wife, Marianne, departs for Copenhagen to revive relations with a former fiancé. David initially seems only slightly disturbed by his wife's action, but when his affair ends and he enjoys an afternoon with his inscrutable daughter (Harriet Andersson, in an especially plucky turn), he determines to embark for Copenhagen and win back his wife. But his initial efforts at a reunion hardly bring him success, and only after a barroom altercation with his brutish rival does David seem to rekindle his wife's affection for him. En Lektion i Kärlek is a pivotal film in the Bergman canon, reviving his fortunes after the critics' rejection of Gycklarnas Afton (Sawdust and Tinsel) (1953) and spurring him toward his comic masterpiece, Sommarnattens Leende (Smiles of a Summer Night) (1955). Bergman came to regard En Lektion i Kärlek as a divertissement, but the film is of a greater magnitude than usual comedies of domestic life, and Bergman concludes it with the endearing image of Cupid strolling past the hotel room of the reunited couple.
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