For my next entry, I decided to visit Bergman’s first directional feature It Rains on Our Love, (Det regnar på vår kärlek). The screenplay was written by Herbert Grevenius and Bergman, based on the Norwegian play Bra Mennesker (Good People). We can certainly see the Bergman we all love and admire emerging behind the camera, and there are signs of the great works that are yet to come. In this Bergman manages to cleverly combines the romance aspect with a critical outlook on the Swedish society at the time, showing the viewer how bureaucracy can get in the way, and be very overwhelming when you’re simply trying to “fit in”, something that we can still relate to nowadays.
The film’s plot is as follows, David Lindell (Birger Malmsten) and Maggi (Barbro Kollberg) are not lucky in life, but are eager to make a difference in their lives and fit in with the rest of society by whatever means possible. David landed in prison, but now wants to start a new life. Maggi aimed to be an actress, but got pregnant during a chance encounter and has now fled to give herself a second chance. The lovers represent everything the straight-laced society rejects. They meet by chance when they miss their train and share a hotel room.
In the morning, neither one knows what to do so they stick together, for company and because they are attracted to one and other. They stumble across a cottage, where they are allowed to stay after nearly being arrested by the police. As the months pass David gets a job and their relationship develops. Things look on the up, but they can never outrun their bad luck. Yet even when people take advantage of them, when the couple are accused of theft, when they are thrown out of their apartment – at least they seem to have a guardian angel, who appears in the unlikely form of the “Man with the Umbrella”.
There’s some very ‘cheesy’ and corny moments but this is still an enjoyable melodrama despite some overacting and some very awkward moments that have not aged well. There’s one scene at the beginning of the film where David goes to kiss Maggi against her will, in which she responses by slapping him (rightly so), and marches across the room to get away from him. David follows, and tries a different responses, by behaving more ‘gentlemen like’ which seems to softens Maggi and she kisses him back. Looking at the scene now, it makes for very uncomfortable viewing, and just so baffling that I can’t help but be taken aback by it (and not in a good way).
It Rains on our Love is beautifully shot and visually stunning to look at, with Bergman’s direction being very adept and strong. I found that the dialogue was quite thought provoking and the story is moving and compelling with two very likeable leads. I admired that It Rains on our Love didn’t resort too much to melodrama which it could have easily done, nor does it seem overly sentimental. The ending even has some optimism that doesn’t feel forced in any way. Yes, it seems odd to say this, but there’s a Bergman film with an uplifting ending, out there!