You and Me Against the World
by Francis Joseph A. Cruz
They meet by chance in a train station. Maggi (Barbro Kollberg) is a woman who wishes to go home upon learning that she is pregnant with the child of a man she does not know. David (Birger Malmsten), without a penny to his name, has just been released from prison. After spending a night together in a hotel room, they fall in love and vow to build their future together. The two end up breaking into a cottage, leading to a series of events that will test their love.
Slandered, suspected of theft and swindled, the couple insist on starting their new life together in a rural community that obviously does not want them and their scandalous relationship in its midst. Thus, the couple’s attempt to legitimise their love through the formality of marriage is hindered by moral and bureaucratic mechanisms that are at play. Their dreams of getting their own home are spoiled by their greedy landlord’s dastardly manoeuvrings.
Only Ingmar Bergman’s second film, It Rains on Our Love (1946), screening as part of the Berlinale Retrospective of the famed Swedish master, showcases a director who has the gift for both storytelling and characterisation. Humour plays a vital part in the film, providing much-needed levity in a story that mines the misfortunes of a couple trying to exist in a village that thrives in narrow-mindedness. The film plays very much like an amiable Hollywood melodrama, something that might surprise Bergman enthusiasts who have gotten used to the harsh ascetic of films like Cries and Whispers (1972) and Scenes from a Marriage (1973).
It Rains on Our Love may not have the complexity and gravity that is usually associated with Bergman. What it does have is an optimism that, at first, might seem strange and out-of-place. But in reality, it is very much a part of the human condition that Bergman has tirelessly worked to portray in his cinema.
In a filmography that includes great films like Fanny and Alexander (1982), Persona (1966) and The Seventh Seal (1957), minor works like It Rains on Our Love are easily forgotten. Thankfully, retrospectives that not only concentrate on widely-accepted masterpieces but also on lesser-known gems, give us a chance to rediscover these films, and for them to reach audiences that may welcome them with new eyes.
(First published here. Read more in the Berlinale Talent Press website)