From the Chicago Reader (January 1, 1996). My capsule here doesn’t really do justice to this masterpiece, one of Bergman’s absolute achievements. — J.R.
A major early feature by Ingmar Bergman, also known as The Naked Night (though the Swedish title apparently means The Clown’s Night). This 1953 film is perhaps the most German expressionist of Bergman’s 50s works, as redolent of sexual cruelty and angst as Variety and The Blue Angel, but no less impressive for all that. The aging owner of a small traveling circus who left his wife for a young performer in his troupe tries to regain his lost family. Visually splendid, but you may find the masochistic plot pretty unpleasant. With Ake Gronberg and Harriet Andersson. In Swedish with subtitles. 92 min. (JR)