January 9: Through A Glass Darkly

Thursday, January 9 2020 | Såsom i en spegel aka Through A Glass Darkly Sweden 1961 d. Ingmar Bergman with Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Max von Sydow and Lars Passgård. Black and white. In Swedish with English subtitles. 91 m

“Preserving a strict unity of time and place, this stark tale of a young woman’s decline into insanity is set in a summer home on a holiday island…generally seen as addressing Bergman’s increasing disillusionment with the emotional coldness of his inherited Lutheran religion. In particular here, Bergman focuses on the absence of familial love which might perhaps have pulled Karin (Andersson) back from the brink; while Karin’s mental disintegration manifests itself in the belief that God is a spider. As she slips inexorably into madness, she is observed with terrifying objectivity by her emotionally paralysed father (Björnstrand) and seemingly helpless husband (von Sydow).” Geoff Andrew

“Frequently Bergman uses what I think of as “the basic Bergman two-shot,” which is a reductive term for a strategy of great power. He places two faces on the screen, in very close physical juxtaposition, but the characters are not looking at each other. Each is focused on some unspecified point off-screen, each is looking in a different direction. They are so close, and yet so separated. It is the visual equivalent of the fundamental belief of his cinema: That we try to reach out to one another, but more often than not are held back by compulsions within ourselves.” Roger Ebert

Links: IMDB Wikipedia

See Also: Nattvardsgästerna aka Winter Light (Bergman, 1963), Tystnaden aka The Silence (Bergman, 1963)

Series: Winter 2020 :: Bergman 60s