Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ingmar Bergman's Silence of God Trilogy

Through a Glass Darkly (1961)
 A young woman (Harriet Andersson), just released from the hospital following treatment for schizophrenia, retreats to a remote island and frolics with her bookish brother (Lars Passgard) while her sullen husband (Max von Sydow) attempts to repair their marriage and she learns the devastating news that her author father (Gunnar Bjornstrand) has been exploiting her sickness for his work. Immaculately shot by Bergman's longtime cinematographer Sven Nykvist, Through a Glass Darkly is cerebral, shocking, and sorrowful with a possessed, otherworldly performance from Andersson.
*** 1/2 out of ****

Winter Light (1963)
A Lutheran minister (Bjornstrand) practices mass without feeling, offers his own feelings of helplessness to a suicidal man (von Sydow) who reaches out to him, and treats his loving mistress (Gunnel Lindblom) with nothing but disdain as the only true believer in his clergy is the hunchback Sexton. Striking, succinct, penetrating, and humorless, Bjornstrand's performance and Lindblom breaking the fourth wall during the letter reading scene stand atop an austere Winter Light.
*** out of ****

The Silence (1963)
A sensual woman (Lindblom) and her child stop for a layover in a bizarre, unnamed and virtually inaudible European town when her cold and distant sister (Ingrid Thulin) takes ill during a journey by train. Oblique, extremely minimalist, and starkly filmed The Silence is ultimately a shocking and viscerally moving experience.
*** out of ****