This made-for-television film constituted Bergman’s first production of Strindberg’s A Dreamplay – a play he would revisit three times more. Gunnar Ollén’s Malmö crew was behind this, for its time, prestigious and costly theatre production, involving more than 40 actors and no less than 75 extras.
In this production, critics thought they discerned a change in Bergman’s style of directing. Ebbe Linde in Dagens Nyheter:
‘I think one can differentiate between an old and a new Ingmar Bergman: an old sensational one from the beginning of his career and a subdued, demanding one, now at his peak. That his approach implies a deepening of his art seems clear to me, at the same time as it might limit his geographical appeal.’ Continue reading
“Heavily artistically infused this chamber piece from Bergman lauded numerous international awards for both the film and the performances. It’s beautiful imagery from Sven Nykvist’s magnificent cinematography, its high level of pretension and its inability to be comprehensible have given it a unique place in cinema history. “Persona” can causes a myriad of personal reactions. Perhaps its greatest triumph is forcing the viewer to allow “it” to penetrate… to open yourself to its deeply felt expressions and perhaps have it touch upon your own. “Persona” is rife with universal emotions; pain, love, desire, regret, longing. This is a film that can be viewed multiple times garnering more from each visit … or less, depending on how you allow it to brush your subconscious… that part of you filled with emotions which you rarely, if ever, openly discuss. Continue reading
Set in beautiful 14th century Sweden, it is the sombre, powerful fable of wealthy land-owning parents whose daughter, a young virgin, is brutally raped and murdered by goat herders after her half sister has invoked a pagan curse. By a bizarre twist of fate, the murderers ask for food and shelter from the dead girl’s parents, who, discovering the truth about their erstwhile lodgers, exact a chilling revenge Continue reading
With the exception of his elderly housekeeper Miss Agda who he treats almost like a surrogate platonic wife, widowed seventy-eight year old Dr. Isak Borg, a former medical doctor and professor, has retreated from any human contact, partly his own want but partly the decision of others who do not want to spend time with him because of his cold demeanor. He is traveling from his home in Stockholm to Lund to accept an honorary degree. Instead of flying as was the original plan, he decides to take the day long drive instead. Along for the ride is his daughter-in-law Marianne, who had been staying with him for the month but has now decided to go home. The many stops and encounters along the way make him reminisce about various parts of his life. Those stops which make him reminisce directly are at his childhood summer home, at the home of his equally emotionally cold mother, and at a gas station where the attendants praise him as a man for his work.
In 1951 there was a conflict in the Swedish film industry. The production companies had declared a ban on filming in protest against the high rate of tax on entertainment. Recently remarried, Ingmar Bergman, found himself with three families to support, and his contract with the Gothenburg City Theatre had expired. In order to earn any income whatsoever that year, he agreed to direct nine commercial for Bris soap on behalf of Swedish Unilever. It seems more than a coincidence that Sweden’s most famous film director should be the one to take the country’s advertising to a higher plane: the Bris films were the most lavishly funded that the country had ever seen. Continue reading
Marianne (Liv Ullmann) and Johan (Erland Josephson) always seemed like the perfect couple. But when Johan suddenly leaves Marianne for another woman, they are forced to confront the disintegration of their marriage. Shot in intense, intimate close-ups by master cinematographer Sven Nykvist, the film chronicles ten years of turmoil and love that bind the couple despite their divorce and subsequent marriages. Flawless acting and dialogue portray the brutal pain and uplifting peace that accompany a lifetime of loving.. Continue reading
Ingmar Bergman’s gloomy but incisive 1961 classic about a woman’s descent into madness–and the inability of her family to mitigate her pain with love–is still a stunning work. Harriet Andersson plays Karin, a psychiatric patient newly released from a hospital and staying in the island home where she found some measure of security in childhood. Instead of getting on her feet, however, Karin begins disintegrating after realizing she no longer loves her physician husband (Max von Sydow) and is being rather coldly observed by her writer father (Gunnar Bjornstrand), whose distant fascination with her plight is recorded in his daily journal. Hearing voices, believing God to be a spider, and pursuing an incestuous relationship with her brother, Karin slips into an inexorable decline, objectively witnessed by those too emotionally frozen to help. The first of Bergman’s trilogy on themes of faith and isolation (the other entries being Winter Light and The Silence), Through a Glass Darkly finds the legendary Swedish filmmaker at an artistic and philosophical peak. –Tom Keogh Continue reading