Interview with actress Harriet Anderson, conducted by film scholar Peter Cowie
Interview with film scholar Eric Schaefer about Kroger Babb and his distribution of Monika, the story of a bad girl as an exploitation film
Images from the Playground, a half-hour documentary by Stig Björkman featuring behind-the-scenes footage shot by Bergman, archival audio interviews with Bermgna, and new interviews with actresses Bibi Anderson and Harriet Anderson
Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Laura Hubner, a 1958 review by filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, and a publicity piece from 1953 in which Bergman interviews himself
Sight and Sound - 03/01/2003
"...This film has a freewheeling energy and roughness that some of Bergman's more celebrated later work lacks..."
New York Times - 11/14/2007
"Shot in rich black and white, MONIKA shows a director in absolute control of his medium and its singular expressivity."
MONIKA is an intense, sensual drama, adapted by Ingmar Bergman from a novel by Per Anders Fogelström. In an often-praised, stellar performance, Harriet Andersson, on her way to becoming a Bergman regular, plays the fiery teenager Monika, and Lars Ekborg is Harry, a sensitive youth who becomes her lover. Together they escape to a remote island off the coast of Sweden, where they spend a carefree summer exploring nature and giving in to their own passionate instincts. When Monika finds herself pregnant, the young couple is forced to return to the city, where they settle down to a dull domestic life together, with the prospect of a bleak future in a drab working-class environment. The impulsive Monika soon decides she wants more out of life...Because of the occasionally erotic nature of the material (and Bergman's uninhibited rendering of it), prior to being released in this country the movie was edited, retitled MONIKA: THE STORY OF A BAD GIRL, and marketed as a racy sexploitation film by its U.S. distributor, in turn earning the director the disapproval of those who considered the finished product obscene.
A sultry, bittersweet romantic drama from Swedish film giant Ingmar Bergman, MONIKA depicts the brief, fiery love affair between two poor teenagers, Monika and Harry, who run away together and spend one passionate summer on a remote island. The idyll comes to an end when Monika discovers she is pregnant. The two young adults decide to marry and settle down but are unprepared for the dull, dreary working-class life that awaits them. This beautifully filmed feature has been noted as one of Bergman's most unapologetically erotic works.
Coming Of Age |
Theatrical release: February 9, 1953 (Sweden).
Filmed on location in the Stockholm archipelago and at Råsunda Studios.
MONIKA was Harriet Andersson's first star turn in a Bergman picture, although many more were to follow. Bergman and Andersson were romantically involved for a number of years following the filming of this movie.
Jean-Luc Godard said about MONIKA: "The most beautiful film of the most original of cineastes."