I was 12 when me and my brother who was 10, decided to go to the movies and watch this to “kill some time”. We are not little precocious geniuses so we did not understand that ”
Bergman’s story is Dickensian in its extravagant emotional power – with a hint of Charlotte Brontë – and there is some Chekhov in its melancholy.” We did, probably, managed to understand the sibling complicity created in born out of adversity.
Even so, and as futile as it may seem, the movie made an impression on me because of the sailor outfits (it did, after all, won the Oscar for Best Costume Design in 1984; check Marik Vos’ costume sketches at The Criterion Collection). This movie, also a contest “between magic and dull diurnal reality” was in part responsible for this Laura Ashley dress in my closet. I suspect that also watching Upstairs, Downstairs, reading “Os Desastres de Sofia” (Les Malheurs de Sophie [Sophie’s misfortunes]) and a later fixation on Brideshead Revisited had something to do with it. A dress symbolizing and imagined childhood.