Styling ballet films: Summer Interlude

11 January 2012 | By Hila Shachar

Summer Interlude
Summer Interlude

Hila Shachar styles her favourite dance films. Scroll down to see the look she’s put together for Summer Interlude.

Jean-Luc Godard once called Ingmar Bergman’s Summer Interlude (1951), “the most beautiful of films”. Bergman himself said that “Summer Interlude is one of my most important films. Even though to an outsider it may seem terribly passé”. This classic film is anything but “passé”. It’s based on a tragic love story that mirrors a well-known ballet: Swan Lake. It tells the story of a Swedish prima ballerina, Marie, who recalls a youthful affair she had with a young man, Henrik, during rehearsals for Swan Lake.

Summer Interlude is the product of Bergman’s unique imagination and particular cinematic style. He is known for using the aesthetic of black and white in often highly symbolic ways. The film is not simply shot in black and white, but is thematically structured according to the symbolism of light and dark. On the one hand, this mirrors the thematic distinction drawn between the white and black swan in Swan Lake. But Bergman takes things further by suggesting that the aesthetic of light and dark is part of a wider philosophy of love and loss. As the dancers move through shadows and light on stage, they become emblems of the precariousness of life, expressing one of the central ideals of Bergman’s cinema: the need to feel art and ideas through the body.

Marie too is drawn into this aesthetic logic of light and dark. For her, life is series of black and white contrasts. Her love affair during her youthful summer is compared to a lustrous white pearl, while her sense of loss is expressed through her dancing body encased in a black leotard, which her dance-master compares to a series of black lines on the stage. She is undeniably one of the most classic ballet heroines, adorned in classic 1950s attire, like a ballerina version of Audrey Hepburn: trench coats, black turtlenecks, white shirts and high-waisted cigarette pants. Like the film, her simple wardrobe is something that will never become “passé”.

A peek into Marie’s classic wardrobe:

Toast fine-wool cigarette trouser

Toast polka-dot Bather

Theory Orencia tie-front silk blouse

A.P.C. short trench coat

A.P.C. crew-neck pullover in sheer knit

Tiffany pearl earrings