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27 July 2016

Hon dansade en sommar (1951)

Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (1951) is a Swedish film by director Arne Mattsson, based on the 1949 novel Sommardansen (The Summer Dance) by Per Olof Ekström. It was the first Swedish film to win the Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival, and was also nominated for the Palme d'Or at the 1952 Cannes Film Festival. The nude scenes in the film caused much controversy at the time and, together with Ingmar Bergman's Sommaren med Monika/Summer with Monika (1953), spread the image of Swedish 'free love' around the world. Leading actress Ulla Jacobsson became an international star.

Ulla Jacobsson in Hon dansade en sommar (1951)
German postcard by Rüdel-Verlag, Hamburg-Bergedorf, no. 548. Photo: Nordisk Tonefilm / Constantin-Film. Publicity still for Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (Arne Mattsson, 1951).

Ulla Jacobsson and Folke Sundquist in Hon dansade en sommar (1951)
German postcard by Kolibri-Verlag, no. 773. Photo: Constantin-Film. Publicity still for Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (Arne Mattsson, 1951).

Ulla Jacobsson in Hon dansade en sommar (1951)
German postcard by Kolibril-Verlag, no. 772. Photo: Constantin-Film. Publicity still for Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (Arne Mattsson, 1951).

She danced for a summer


Hon dansade en sommar (literally: She danced for a summer) tells the story about the 19-years old Göran (Folke Sundquist) who after graduating from high school spends a summer on his uncle Anders's farm. It's summer and there is a lot of work to do at the farm, but the city student isn't accustomed to that.

Göran falls in love with 17 year old Kerstin (Ulla Jacobsson), and suddenly he is very engaged in country life. The village youth are in a bitter conflict with the extremely strict vicar (John Elfström), who condemns all their activities as immoral. When the vicar forbids the youth to use the school for their meetings anymore, Anders (Edvin Adolphson) gives them an old barn, which they start renovating.

Kerstin has a strict mother, who in vain forbids her to take part in the youth activities. Kerstin goes there with Göran. She is a bit shy, but the romance between them develops step by step, until it is fulfilled on a summer night, when they swim naked in a lake.

They experience an intense summer together, and Göran dreads the idea of returning to university in the autumn. But a motorcycle accident puts an end to it all, with Kerstin dying in Göran's arms. Göran is accused by the vicar for being a seducer that had led Kerstin astray.

Hon dansade en sommar caused much international controversy, because of the nude swimming sequence and the love scene which included a close-up of Ulla Jacobsson's breasts, but also because of its very anti-clerical message. So, in spite of its awards, the film was banned in several countries, among them Spain, and it wasn't released in the United States until 1955.

Reviewer Max at IMDb: "This charming film should be restored and reissued. Its story line is simple, perhaps a bit trite. However, the central character Kerstin presents us with a rare glimpse of the blossoming of youth, emerging from innocence to passion to tragedy in a short season. No spectacular acting here, but one senses a freshness and spontaneity rarely grasped in low budget productions. No specific message here, other than raw warmth followed by pain and despair."

Ulla Jacobsson and Folke Sundquist in Hon dansade en sommar (1951)
German collectors card. Photo: Constantin-Film. Publicity still for Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (Arne Mattsson, 1951).

Ulla Jacobsson in Hon dansade en sommar (1951)
German collectors card. Photo: Constantin-Film. Publicity still for Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (Arne Mattsson, 1951).

Ulla Jacobsson and Folke Sundquist in Hon dansade en sommar (1951)
German collectors card. Photo: Constantin-Film. Publicity still for Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (Arne Mattsson, 1951).

Ulla Jacobsson and Folke Sundquist in Hon dansade en sommar (1951)
German collectors card. Photo: Constantin-Film. Publicity still for Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (Arne Mattsson, 1951).

Ulla Jacobsson and Folke Sundquist in Hon dansade en sommar (1951)
German collectors card. Photo: Constantin-Film. Publicity still for Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (Arne Mattsson, 1951).

Hon dansade en sommar (1951)
German collectors card. Photo: Constantin-Film. Publicity still for Hon dansade en sommar/One Summer of Happiness (Arne Mattsson, 1951).

Sources: Wikipedia and IMDb.

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