Eva Henning commits suicide and Ulf Palme looks into why
Author: msroz from United States
28 April 2013
"Girl with Hyacinths" is an excellent Swedish film noir, dating from 1950. The lead actress, Eva Henning, was married to the director, Hasse Ekman, at the time. Ekman was a rival to Ingmar Bergman, who said of this movie "An absolute masterpiece. 24 carats. Perfect." This is cited in a very helpful and laudatory review at "Lolita's Classics" blogspot.
Early in the film, Henning's character, Dagmar Brink, commits suicide. She is a young and attractive woman, and we wonder why. She leaves her belongings to her neighbors, Ulf Palme and Birgit Tengroth, who are also curious. Palme, a sympathetic writer, embarks on the project of seeking out people who knew Dagmar Brink, in order to figure out her suicide. The story is a mystery in structure. Flashbacks then reveal the life of Brink and her interactions with about 4 different men earlier in her short life during World War 2. These male characters are sharply, fully and critically drawn. The negatives of these men, and by inference of Swedish society and all men everywhere, are a major aspect of the film.
At the very end, Palme remains in the dark, but his wife learns something essential about Dagmar Brink which she does not reveal to her husband. We learn too.
"Girl with Hyacinths" is definitely a dark film, figuratively and actually. Suicide is not a crime, but artistically it functions as such in the noir vocabulary. The men that Dagmar Brink encounters are not criminals, but they function as insensitive moral code breakers. I'd place this movie into a noir category that includes other personal noirs such as "Pitfall", "Letters from an Unknown Woman", "The Lost Moment" and "Specter of the Rose".