SUMMER PARADISE - K.B. OUTER CIRCLE 1. The most attractive movie heroine is a 60ish Swedish doctor named Katha in "Summer Paradise," the first film directed by Gunnel Lindblom, who was herself a more conventionally beautiful herione in such Ingmar Bergman films as "The Seventh Seal," Wild Strawberries" and "The Silence."
Katha, as played by Birgitta Valberg, is a warm and capable woman who sees 30 patients a day is the mainstay of a four-generation family, of a childhood friend who is a sort of post-radical social worker and, in her spare time, of family retainers and strays. She is cheerful and helpful when her granddaughter wakes her up in the middle of the night with a nightmare, and when her daughters need their children out of the way of their sex lives. Everybody who is troubled dumps it onto her, and she is unfailingly soothing and pratical.
And dammed if this whole movie doesn't try its best to make her feel guilty.
All Katha is asking for is two months in the country with her intimate circle of family and friends. Of course, she has to run the place and be ready to treat everyone's ills. But she also gracefully submits to the addition of a man her daughter picked up in traffic the night before; she takes on a nephew whose parents prefer the Riviera; and she even relents, without being asked, and invites her year-round burden, a sullen woman and her destructive son who live off the family the year around.
Yet from all sides, the other characters keep suggesting that Katha isn't facing "the real world." The nephew has been midly brooding, and Katha has diagnosed his problem as adolescence and decided that he needed was his privacy respected. Suddenly, he commits suicide, and we are left to believe that Katha should have done something. What? She - and we - never saw him doing anything more ominous than photographing wildflwers up close. Her daughters aren't doing anything for anyone because they are merrily romping with silly men - yet the films implies that they are more in touch with "reality."
This is a beautiful heroine who needs rescuing - from her own movie.