Late Spring (1949)

With Yasujirō Ozu’s contemplative editing and curated mise-en-scène guiding Late Spring’s lyrical rhythms forward, there is both profound joy and sadness to be found in its central father-daughter love, finding melancholy drama in her resistance to getting marriage and his quiet acceptance of being left behind.

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Thirst (1949)

As Bertil and Rut ride a train through a war-ravaged Europe in Thirst, the nostalgic affairs and heartbreaking traumas of their past rise to the surface in uneasy flashbacks, bringing a faintly nightmarish edge to their festered love which Ingmar Bergman contains within claustrophobic interiors, seeing them viciously pour their frustrations out onto each other.

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Port of Call (1948)

Romantic melodrama may be the basis of Port of Call’s romantic storyline, and yet in the authentic location shooting and miserable suffering of its suicidal protagonist, Ingmar Bergman imbues it with a discomforting grit inspired by Italy’s neorealist movement, setting in a bleak tone that sees old traumas surface and threaten the chance for new beginnings.

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A Ship Bound for India (1947)

An air of fleeting transience hangs over A Ship Bound for India, embodied literally by the industrial ships sailing from one dock to the next, and formally weaved into the narrative as an extended, nostalgic flashback, revealing a confidence in Ingmar Bergman’s direction that probes the Oedipal dynamics between a sailor, his father, and his mistress.

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Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)

Yankee Doodle Dandy’s jingoistic politics are unsophisticated, but its nostalgic sentiment is strong, beating back whatever accusations of outdated mawkishness might be thrown its way with James Cagney’s energetic take on Broadway star George M. Cohan, whose dynamic presence and patriotic showtunes are rendered by Michael Curtiz onscreen as a propulsive musical biopic.

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It Rains On Our Love (1946)

Ingmar Bergman screenplays are rarely so blunt as the melodrama he delivers in It Always Rains on Our Love, and yet the touch of magical realism he injects into this fable of endless hardships is charming nonetheless, formally rounding out a heartfelt call for compassion towards society’s young outcasts.

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