Bergman is the film-maker of the instant. His camera seeks only one thing: to seize the present moment at its most fugitive, and to delve deep into it so as to give it the quality of eternity. Hence the prime importance of the flashback, since the dramatic mainspring of each Bergman film is simply the hero’s reflection on the moment and his situation at that moment. […]
In Summer With Monika, the pleasure is shot through with squalor from the start, the happiness with spleen. Monika and her lover, those modern Robinsons with only a sleeping-bag to harbour their love, soon turn their backs on joy to wallow in disgust. One must see Summer With Monika, if only for the extraordinary moment when Harriet Andersson, before making love with the man she has already thrown out once before, stares fixedly into the camera, her laughing eyes clouded with confusion, and calls on us to witness her disgust at involuntarily choosing hell instead of heaven. It is the saddest shot in the history of the cinema.