Musik i mörker (Night is My Future) (1948) - Rotten Tomatoes

Musik i mörker (Night is My Future) (1948)

Musik i mörker (Night is My Future)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Originally released in Sweden as Musik I Morker, Night is My Future is a seminal effort from director Ingmar Bergman. Blinded during a wartime training accident, aspiring-musician Birger Malmstein refuses all efforts by well-meaning outsiders to help him. Malmstein hires Mai Zetterling as his companion and "eyes," though he still fiercely defends his independence. They become closer as both Malmstein and Zetterling learn about new aspects of life from each other. Disappointed in his efforts to make a living as a pianist, Malmstein enrolls in a school for the blind, assuming that Zetterling will be waiting for him when he graduates. Upon learning that Mai already has a boy friend, Malmstein attempts to kill himself. Only when he gets into a fistfight with Zetterling's beau does Malmstein feel as though he's "whole" again. Night is My Future is based on a novel by Dagmar Edqvist; while entertaining, it is frankly an "entertainment," with few of Bergman's distinctive touches. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Art House & International, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Ingmar Bergman, Dagmar Edqvist
In Theaters:


Mai Zetterling
as Ingrid Olofsdotter
Birger Malmsten
as Bengt Vyldeke
Olof Winnerstrand
as Kerrman the vicar
Naima Wifstrand
as Mrs. Schroder
Bibi Skoglund
as Agneta Vyldeke
Hilda Borgström
as Lovis the Housekeepe...
Douglas Håge
as Kruge the Restaurant...
Bengt Eklund
as Ebbe Larsson
John Elfström
as Otto Klemens blind w...
??ke Claesson
as Mr. Schroeder
Svea Holst
as Post office worker
Sven Lindberg
as Hedstroem
Arne Lindblad
as The Chef
Bengt Logardt
as Einar Born
Segol Mann
as Anton Nord
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Musik i mörker (Night is My Future)

Critic Reviews for Musik i mörker (Night is My Future)

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (2)

This is one film Bergman didn't wrench from the depths of his soul.

Full Review… | January 26, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Cinematic juvenilia of a painful sort.

Full Review… | May 10, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Shots are often fumbled, yet the need for human touch is profoundly evoked in its physicality and its spirituality

Full Review… | March 14, 2010

Very early Bergman film (he had directed 16 films before all the critical acclaim) starring Malmsten as a man who struggles against blindness that happened to him in the military.

Full Review… | August 29, 2006
TV Guide's Movie Guide

August 1, 2005

Audience Reviews for Musik i mörker (Night is My Future)


the story of 'Music in Darkness' could, with little difficulty, be transposed to Hollywood in its more sentimental attitudes - a handsome, wealthy, artistic young man becomes blind after an accident during military service; after harrowing experiences of humiliation, exploitation and degradation, he learns to live with his disability, guided by love. And the young Bergman was not averse to manipulating the melodramatic tricks of Hollywood, although his use of them are satisfyingly sadistic - the tense attempt in the opening sequence of the hero to rescue a puppy who has strayed into the line of an army firing practice - so much sentimental weight is attached to the cute liddel doggie that we barely register what actually transpires, the shooting of a human being; the near-Hitchcockian sequence where the hero, abandoned by a blind acquaintance, stumbles onto a railway line, with a train approaching behind him.

Hollywood films dealing with disability have two functions - to wrest easy tears from an audience that generally, thankfully, doesn't have to deal with that kind of trauma in real life; and to chart the process of socialisation of an unwitting outsider, to bring a model citizen alienated by experience back into the fold. Bergman isn't really interested in either of these things - his snobbish hero is not easy to warm to, and the promised socialisation at the end is distinctly ambiguous, and not sanctioned by many of the community members. Where a Hollywood film might close with the exultant union of the disabled person and his lover, Bergman ends with an uncomfortable coda, where the lovers must put their decision to the social test, and where the future stumbling blocks are disconcertingly laid out. It is anxiety we feel for the lovers and their uncertainty, not a rosy, complacent glow.

Even at this stage in his career, Bergman has other interests. It is remarkable, in a genre film, how many of the themes, figures and motifs of his later masterpieces are present - the artist hero, whose journey with his art paralells a kind of spiritual or interior struggle; the difficulties of even the best-intentioned heterosexual relationships, battered not only by external circumstances, but by pride, whim, cruelty, self-pity etc.; the obstacles of family and organised religion; the mirroring of a physical disability with interior deterioration.

Bergman's most characteristic work is identified by the tension between (emotional) excess in content and extreme austerity in form. His early melodramas, conversely, are expressionist extravaganzas, with their heavy use of twisted camera angles, shadows, deep focus and obtrusive music. Expressionism is generally a projection of interior states on the external world - what is interesting here is that the hero has no vision of any sort to colour the real world, so that the expressionism is a genuine interior projection, and the play of light and darkness in the mise-en-scene, the heightened artificiality of certain scenes (e.g. his reunion with Ingrid in a fogged wood) all attest to his journey in a more honest way than the conventional plot.

Bergman charts this journey as a kind of spiritual pilgrim's progress - in his first dream/vision after his accident, as well as meeting big fish and sirens, Bengt is dragged down into a hellish slime, by disembodied hands - if we remember Dante's 'Inferno', Hell is defined by darkness.

The film's central section, where the hero's blindness is tested in social situations, where he is rejected as an artist, forced to find employment with thieves and grotesques who rob him, where, through his own class idiocy he loses the girl he loves, is a kind of Purgatory, where he must purify himself of the moral flaws the world had inculcated in him, where he becomes genuinely humble and selfless.

Heaven is concentrated in the marriage - there is a genuine spiritual bond between the two lovers, from encouragement Ingrid gives him at the funeral even though he doesn't know she's there, to her sense that he is in trouble with the train. After all, the woman who brings them together is called Beatrice! Needless to say, Bergman is less religiously ecstatic than Dante.

Cassandra Maples

Super Reviewer

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