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The Saddest Shot in Cinema

For many, the most memorable moment from Bergman’s seminalSummer with Monika (1953) is a scene in which the titular Monika turns away from the affair that she is about to embark upon, in order to cast a direct and prolonged stare towards the viewer. For almost 30 seconds, Monika’s expression undergoes a metamorphosis from steely defiance into a haunting vulnerability, rendered all the more devastating for its juxtaposition with the carefree and upbeat music heard simultaneously in the background. In 1958, Jean-Luc Godard infamously declared this moment to be “the saddest shot in . . .

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Tim Metcalfe is a MA Psychology of Music student and prospective PhD student (investigating auditory emotion perception in cochlear implant users). He has a passion for both classic and contemporary Scandinavian and Eastern-European cinema. Recently completed an online course in Scandinavian film and television, offered by The University of Copenhagen.