Category Archives: Swedish

Through a Glass Darkly-1961

Through a Glass Darkly-1961

Director Ingmar Bergman

Starring Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Max von Sydow

Scott’s Review #1,377

Reviewed July 15, 2023

Grade: A

Recently acquiring a robust Ingmar Bergman collection featuring over three dozen of the great director’s works, I have much introspective filmmaking to look forward to.

Considered visionary, influential, and many other stellar adjectives, his films are personal and human. They are frequently dark and not easy watches but the payoff is quite big for the patient cinephile.

His 1961 work, Through a Glass Darkly (1961) tells the story of a schizophrenic young woman, Karin (Harriet Andersson), vacationing on a remote island with her husband Martin (Max von Sydow), novelist father David (Gunnar Björnstrand), and frustrated younger brother Minus (Lars Passgård).

She has been released from the hospital and plans to enjoy the summer in tranquility at the family’s quaint cottage.

She slowly unravels as the reality sets in that she may not get better and the family is aware of this.

The story is told in a brisk twenty-four-hour period and consists of only the four aforementioned characters. It is structured as a three-act play in a very short ninety-one-minute run.

Let’s remember that mental illness was not as advanced in 1961 as it is decades later. Most who suffered from it were tossed away into a ‘loony bin’ and quickly discarded from society.

Delving into such controversial and unpleasant territory in 1961 deserves huge accolades.

The brilliance of Through a Glass Darkly is how Karin realizes her mental illness and its fateful ravages. She is aware of what’s happening to her and that she will never recover. After all, the hen’s mother also suffered from mental illness.

Her rich characterization is powerfully played by Andersson who is the standout in the film. This could be a result of Sven Nykvist’s cinematography but sometimes Karin looks like a little girl and other times a haggard older woman.

I wonder if Bergman was trying to show the parallel between Karin and her mother.

Speaking of the camerawork, as in Bergman’s films the black-and-white style only enhances the quality of the picture. The contrast between black and white and the frequent close-ups of the characters reveal glowing and ghostlike facial images.

I champion shots like this because it enriches the visual perspective and shifts away from the story momentarily.

Andersson is not the only actor who is excellent and second place belongs to Björnstrand as the father. His character is a writer and deeply pained. Revealed to have tried to commit suicide he is riddled with guilt, regret, and desperation.

von Sydow is decent as Karin’s husband but the actor has much better Bergman roles to reflect on. Any cinema lover will immediately associate the great actor with The Seventh Seal (1957).

Towards the end of Through a Glass Darkly, I didn’t quite connect the dots when the characters go into detail about how god is equated with love.

My focus was more on Karin and the other characters coming to terms with the fact that she would go to an asylum and never return.

What Bergman does so well in Through a Glass Darkly is he makes the audience envelop the characters, accepting and feeling their pain. I despair along with Karin when she imagines a spider emerging from the walls and crawling on her.

Of course, the audience doesn’t see what Karin imagines which makes the scene much scarier than if Bergman had shown a giant spider.

One’s imagination is always worse than what is on the screen.

Requiring patience and a deep dive into despair, Through a Glass Darkly (1961) is worth the work. Lovely beachside images and beautiful sunlight mix perfectly with anguish and depression creating an intimate experience.

Oscar Nominations: 1 win-Best Foreign Language Film (won), Best Original Screenplay

Wild Strawberries-1957

Wild Strawberries-1957

Director Ingmar Bergman

Starring Victor Sjostrom, Bibi Andersson

Scott’s Review #1,111

Reviewed February 10, 2021

Grade: A

A seventy-eight-year-old man (Victor Sjostrom) reflects on life, loss, and a million other emotions as he ponders his inevitable death in the Ingmar Bergman masterpiece Wild Strawberries (1957).

The film has a melancholy tone forcing the viewer to put themselves in the old man’s shoes and wonder how senior citizens view death. One great point is it represents the geriatric demographic, which has traditionally been sorely lacking in cinema.

It’s cerebral and reminds me of A Christmas Carol since an old man struggles over his forgotten and sometimes misbegotten youth.

Bergman creates genius on par with his most famous work The Seventh Seal also released in 1957. I’d list these two films as his very best and most inspiring.

Do older people fear death?  Do they whimsically revisit their youth from time to time or do they live with regret and unfulfilled desire?

My hunch is that it’s probably a bit of all.

Wild Strawberries made me think like the old man and the effect was powerful, making me worry about my death and relive my glory days.

Isak Borg (Sjostrom) begins to reflect on his life after he takes a road trip from his home in Stockholm to the distant town of Lund to receive a special award. Along the way, a string of encounters causes him to experience hallucinations that expose his insecurities and fears.

He realizes that his choices have rendered his life meaningless, or so he perceives it.

He is accompanied by his daughter-in-law Marianne (Ingrid Thulin) who doesn’t like Isak too much, is pregnant, and plans to leave her husband. They meet a trio of friendly hitchhikers led by Sara (Bibi Andersson) who reminds Isak of the love of his youth.

A bickering couple reminds him of his unhappy marriage, while his elderly mother reminds him of himself.

The best part is when the group stops at Isak’s childhood seaside home and imagines his sweetheart, Sara, with whom he remembered gathering strawberries, but who instead married his brother.

Anyone who has returned to their childhood home or neighborhood can easily relate to the powerful memories. I pretended I was in Isak’s character and several emotions occurred.

Sjostrom infuses a natural range of emotions. At first crotchety and distant I admired his sentimentality as he fondly recalls innocently picking strawberries on a summer day. How glorious and innocent to reminisce in an act so mundane yet monumental.

An old man, he was once young. How quickly the years go by. I took this as a lesson to appreciate each day and experience. Sjostrom had me mesmerized.

Some find Izak unsympathetic. I found him incredibly likable.

Relationships are a strong element of Wild Strawberries. Izak muses over past loves, his mother, daughter-in-law, housekeeper, and hitchhikers. Peculiar is his relationship with his housekeeper, Agda, played stunningly well by Julian Kindahl.

Are they secret lovers or platonic friends? They seem like husband and wife.

While the story is astounding, the visual qualities of Wild Strawberries are amazing.

The video content is crisp and clear with very bright black-and-white photography. Each shot is mesmerizing and reminiscent of paintings.

There is so much going on in Wild Strawberries. The closest adjectives to describe the experience are hallucinogenic and mesmerizing.

The people gathered over a meal were young, fresh, and carefree. They all have a life ahead of them and almost every viewer can recount a time when they felt that way.

It’s both nostalgic and sad to realize it doesn’t last as Bergman makes so painfully evident.

The scene where Isak witnesses a hearse approaching is terrifying. When he realizes it is himself lying in the casket it’s enough to give one a chill. It’s creepy and powerful in tone and effects.

Wild Strawberries (1957)  possesses many facets of the human experience like sorrow, joy, depression, acceptance, frustration, and fulfillment.

This is a work of genius and is highly recommended to anyone who appreciates great experiences in cinema.

Oscar Nominations: Best Original Screenplay

They Call Her One Eye-1973

They Call Her One Eye-1973

Director Bo Arne Vibenius

Starring Christina Lindberg, Heinz Hopf

Scott’s Review #1,061

Reviewed September 14, 2020

Grade: A-

They Call Her One Eye (1973) is a marvelously wicked revenge film that is a must-see for any Quentin Tarantino fans since it’s a blueprint for his works to come.

The famous director worked as a clerk at a video store (back when they had video stores) and stumbled upon many odd and wonderful obscure, independent films.

Through the guidance of his stepfather, he was encouraged to pursue his love of film by visiting art theaters and such.

Undoubtedly, They Call Her One Eye was one of his findings.

A young woman (Christina Lindberg) struggles to overcome her tortured past but runs into more trouble when she gets mixed up with a seemingly wonderful man (Heinz Hopf), who ends up being the exact opposite.

After she misses her bus to her job at a farm, the man picks her up and soon has her working as a prostitute and addicted to drugs. Her only chance to escape will be to learn martial arts and exact revenge on her pimp. She spends her time learning to fight and plotting a day of reckoning.

Impossible not to conjure images of Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003) and Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004), the film is told from a female perspective and revenge is the recipe of the day.

The main character also wears an eye-patch, following a horrific scene when her eyeball is removed as punishment for being defiant.

Any fan of Tarantino knows that the character of villainous Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) in Kill Bill also wears an eye patch and is a force to be reckoned with.

The film is focused on the 1970s female revenge genre so the fun is witnessing how badly Madeleine is treated by her pimp and her myriad of clients because we know they will soon be dead.

Director, Bo Arne Vibenius makes no bones about what type of film this is and as a good measure of gender equality, throws in a female client who abuses Madeleine.

They Call Her One Eye is also reminiscent of I Spit on Your Grave, a disturbing 1978 American film with a similar story and more fanfare.

Those with even the slightest hint of prudishness must be forewarned. There is not only extreme nudity (the film is Swedish after all!) but contained within are several pornographic sequences of both vaginal and anal sex.

The scenes are tough to watch, and the unknown is whether the actors appeared in these moments themselves since their faces cannot be seen.

My hunch is that these scenes were spliced in from real pornographic films of the day, but are not necessary or relevant to the rest of the film.

The Swedish locales are lovely especially those of the countryside or farmland and the subtitles are nice to have. The film loses a point because my copy of the DVD is dubbed in English rather than authentically Swedish speaking.

I found this a slight detraction but other viewers may find this just fine.

The fight scenes are mostly done in slow-motion which is another Tarantino stamp. This adds some flavor as the slowed-down scenes become more effective as blood and saliva spattering is at a maximum level.

Madeleine is the clear heroine (no pun intended) of the story so the film doesn’t contain any other good characters except for Madeleine’s parents who quickly commit suicide after receiving hateful letters they think are from their daughter.

Her plight is lofty since she is raped at a young age by a filthy derelict which leaves her mute.

The girl has little luck.

Her pimp Tony is dastardly and when he picks her up on the roadside we know there is terror in her future even though he benevolently takes her for dinner.

They Call Her One Eye is so low-budget that it almost feels like someone walked around with a camcorder and videotaped the sequences. Of course, this only lends credence to the grit the film produces and works exceptionally well for offering a seedy, dirty delight.

Rumor has it that during the eye-slicing scene, recommended for only those with steel-lined stomachs, a real corpse was used. Whether or not this is an urban legend is anyone’s guess.

Fans of Tarantino or those of experimental, artsy, horror meets thriller-lined productions will adore They Call Her One Eye (1973) as it is plagued with richness, disturbing storylines, and much blood.

However, the result will leave feminists or anyone championing women with a small smile on their face after the dramatic conclusion.

The Seventh Seal-1957

The Seventh Seal-1957

Director Ingmar Bergman

Starring Max von Sydow, Gunnar Bjornstrand

Scott’s Review #497

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Reviewed October 23, 2016

Grade: A

The Seventh Seal (1957) is an Ingmar Bergman Swedish masterpiece that, after three mere viewings, I am just beginning to appreciate and fall in love with.

It is not that I did not “get” the dark, artsy theme to begin with- I did, but The Seventh Seal is a savory dish meant for repeated offerings, and with each, I have loved it even more.

The subject matter of the plague and the Black Death is heavy.

It is a quiet, yet powerful, dark, art film about death.

The film is shot in black and white, which does nothing but enhance the cold, stark concepts of the film. The color would have certainly made the film cheery or bright- if that can be said given the subject matter.

Instead, the filming is cold, yet illuminating, and the whites seem very white- the blacks- very dark, which is symbolic of the concepts of the film.

In the story, a disillusioned medieval knight-Antonius Block (Max von Sydow)  returns home from war disenchanted with life. He fought in the Crusades and returned home to Sweden to find it plagued by the Black Death.

He begins to play a game of chess alone- and is visited by Death- a hideous pale creature shrouded in black. Antonius challenges Death to chess- his fate is left so long as the game continues.

Throughout the film, Antonius is the only character who can see Death- the other characters cannot, making the film open to interpretations.

The other characters in the story are a troupe of actors that Antonius meets along the way to his castle and a young, fresh-faced girl who has been branded a witch and is fated to be burned at the stake is featured.

Since she is close to death, Antonius takes a particular fascination with her.

Throughout the film and the trials and tribulations of the characters, Death is continuously lurking around, watching these characters, which is a fascinating part of the film. They cannot see him, so we can only assume their time in this world is limited.

What makes The Seventh Seal so powerful is its honesty- harsh as it is. The knowledge that death is coming for these people is fascinating and many of the characters discuss god in length and pray, as religion is an enormous aspect of the film.

It almost contains a good vs. evil, god vs. devil component, and again, important to stress, highly open to interpretation. Great art films are.

Numerous scenes reverberate and are major iconic moments in film history decades later. The scene of Antonius and Death playing chess on the beach is chilling and ghost-like. Death- his pale face and a black cloak would frighten anyone. This scene has been referenced numerous times over the years.

The inevitable final shot- my favorite- is a long shot of peasants being led to their fate by Death as they are pulled begrudgingly by a rope by Death reminiscent of the Pied Piper and is entitled “Dance of Death”.

The individuals are dressed in black and are atop a hill surrounded by the sky, making the morbid scene highly effective.

The Last Supper scene is powerful and the final meal is enjoyed by the group- unsure of what fate has in store for them the next day.

I anticipate more viewings of this brilliant piece of filmmaking.

Show Me Love-1998

Show Me Love-1998

Director Lukas Moodysson

Starring Alexandra Dahlstrom, Rebecca Liljeberg

Scott’s Review #496

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Reviewed October 22, 2016

Grade: B

Throughout the latter part of the 1990s, films with more of an LGBT perspective (then simply referred to as the gay and lesbian genre) were being released more readily, though it was not until the 2000s when mainstream offerings on the subject (Monster-2003, Brokeback Mountain-2006) hit the big screen to wide acclaim.

Show Me Love (1998) is a Swedish coming-of-age story about two high school girls, opposites in social acceptance, who find love.

Interestingly, the film was directed by a male- Lukas Moodysson.

Show Me Love originally had a different title, a crude reference to the town the film is set in, in western Sweden, but when the film was considered for Academy Award contention (it did not cut), filmmakers were advised to modify the title for the film to have any shot.

The film contains a grainy look- using handheld cameras in parts and, of course, is in the Swedish language.

Agnes is sullen, introverted, and brooding. Known throughout the high school hallways as the angry, weird lesbian, she has few friends, and the ones who are kind to her, she shuns away.

Elin, by contrast, is popular, lively, and charming- everybody loves her. However, Elin is restless in the tiny Swedish town where she lives and yearns for excitement. When Agnes develops a crush on Elin, she confesses all to her computer, but nobody else.

The film is nicely put together and given the time of 1998, is quite brave. Today, many years have passed and progress within the LGBT community made, a film like Show Me Love is a more common occurrence.

Director, Moodysson, does not go for anything gratuitous or steamy but rather spins a sweet coming-of-age tale, not only of teen love and hormones but of outcasts and feelings of loneliness.

It’s a film that most can relate to in some way.

The actresses portraying the leads (Dahlstrom and Liljeberg) are fantastic in their roles and play the parts with conviction and believability. Despite being opposites, we buy their attraction and chemistry. Nothing is forced or dishonest.

My favorite scenes are the awkward 16th birthday party for Agnes, thrown by her well-meaning yet clueless parents. When nobody except a handicapped girl shows up, Agnes viciously insults her, causing her to leave.

The family sits in the living room eating the food that was planned for anticipated guests. It’s a poignant moment and rather sweet. Despite Agnes’s unpopularity at school, she has a very strong, loyal family unit- that is nice to see.

Later, Elin and her sister attend the party, but more as an excuse to avoid another one. Finally, Elin and Agnes share a kiss, but is it a mean dare or is it authentic?

A clever aspect of the film is how Moodysson distinguishes both Elin and Agnes’s sexuality. Agnes is gay, open, and out. Elin is very different and has boys interested in her.

The girls could not be more different and this adds a layer of complexity as each is in a different place in self-discovery. This feature also makes Show Me Love very honest in its storytelling.

The film is not a masterpiece and could have dared to venture into more controversial territory. Could they be harmed for being lesbians given the town they live in? Why is Agnes so sullen?

This is a stereotype (the brooding lesbian) that needs to be changed- though, given the time of the film, I will give it a slight pass. Why not make Agnes a happy, cheerful girl who is gay? How will Elin’s sister deal with Elin’s sexuality or is it merely a phase for her?

All sorts of darker issues might have been explored, but Show Me Love (1998) is tender, sweet, and lighter fare, but still an adventurous offering.

The Girls-1968

The Girls-1968

Director Mai Zetterling

Starring Bibi Andersson, Harriet Andersson

Scott’s Review #404

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Reviewed May 11, 2016

Grade: B+

The Girls is a 1968 political-leaning, surreal, dream-like, feminist Swedish film. These may seem like too many adjectives to describe a film, but they all happen to be warranted and work to categorize it, which is tough- it is a complex film.

The film left me deep in thought about what I had just viewed- that is a positive for me.

Directed by a female, Mai Zetterling, the film is told from a female perspective and is quite difficult to follow, though the message portrayed is a thought compelling, and powerful women repressed- whether in reality or fantasy-by men.

In my attempt to describe The Girls accurately, it appears to contain the boys versus girls component throughout- told by the girls. The plot centers around three women: Liz (Bibi Andersson), Marianne (Harriet Andersson), and Gunilla (Gunnel Lindblom).

The women are hired to star in a touring production of Lysistrata and each faces conflict and concern over leaving their respective families, but for differing reasons.

Liz’s husband, who is having an affair, cannot get rid of her soon enough. Marianne has recently dumped her married boyfriend. Gunilla has four children and suffers from guilt.  All of the women are very friendly with each other.

All three principal actresses are familiar to eagle-eyed Ingmar Bergman fans as each of them has appeared in numerous films of his-in very different types of roles.

Wild Strawberries and The Seventh Seal feature these actresses.

The women go on tour and have various surreal experiences based on the play in which they are a star. The film, made in black and white, has very overexposed cinematography. The blacks and the whites are very sharp in look and this is no doubt purposely done.

On the surface, it would appear that the women hate men and yearn to be free of them. Is that the point of the film? It seems to go in other directions as well. Do they hate their lives and feel confined with men and free without them, when they are touring their play?

How do they feel about their children? Do they miss them on tour, love them, resent them, or perhaps a bit of each? They yearn to be free of restraint.

We are treated to numerous scenes that seem to be a dreamlike state or a fantasy of one of the women. One runs through the forest and comes upon a grizzled, dirty child on the ground. Is it hers? She then sees her husband sitting in a living room chair in the middle of the forest.

The symbolism resonating through The Girls is countless. We also see the women fantasize about a handsome, young man. Are they tired of the doldrums- looks and otherwise- that their husbands have caused them?

Many political scenes of protest occur throughout the film. In one, the women march in unison- Nazi-style and chant. In another, the women lead what appears to be a charge of women- suffragette style, until the women start attacking each other and punching and kicking each other in the streets.

These scenes and countless others are tough to analyze, but perhaps this is the point. I decided to simply escape into the film and not try to figure out what everything meant.

Fantastic to see is the exterior scenes shot in Stockholm, Sweden, which reminds us what a liberal, democratic city it is. Yet the women are repressed. Made in 1968, during the sexual revolution, the timing of the film is perfect.

The Girls left me pondering the story and the viewpoint and I will need further viewings for the film to more successfully sink in and for me to get it- if I ever do, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

The film is the kind of film that requires further viewing to understand. I look forward to watching this film again and that is high praise for it.

Force Majeure-2014

Force Majeure-2014

Director Ruben Östlund

Starring Johannes Bah Kuhnke, Lisa Loven Kongsli

Scott’s Review #280

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Reviewed October 4, 2015

Grade: A

As a huge fan of foreign language films, I was delighted to stumble upon this inventive and thought-provoking treat Force Majeure (2014).

A Swedish film set in the Alps of eastern France, the film is a family drama that is powerful, emotional, and especially psychological. The best films leave you absorbed in thoughtful conversation or introspection, and this film successfully did both for me.

Tomas (Johannes Bah Kuhnke) and Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) are an attractive couple in their mid-thirties vacationing with their two young children, Vera and Harry. Everyone is excited about the holiday as Tomas is away from work for a full week.

They are a family of affluence and sophistication based on the luxurious mountaintop hotel they stay in.

However, there is a subdued level of tension among them.

On the second day, they enjoy lunch at the hotel on an outdoor patio along the snowy mountainside. As a controlled avalanche begins to head their way there is suddenly panic as everyone flees for safety.

The avalanche is feared out of control, but thankfully only mist, and everyone safely returns to lunch.

However, Tomas’s instinctual reaction to the terror sets off a wave of debate for the remainder of the film. The family experiences a range of emotions and subsequently engages their friends in the conflict as they discuss and analyze the event.

The heart of the film is Ebba’s rage and Tomas’s guilt.

What I adore most about this film is its intelligence. It is smart and well-written. From a pacing perspective, it is slow and may turn some viewers off.

Simple scenes feature the family brushing teeth or napping- scenes in which not much happens.

But the intense psychological aspect lying beneath the surface makes up for these uneventful scenes. Smart dialogue between characters is my favorite. Ebba sits in the lobby sipping a drink with her friend, a sophisticated, promiscuous woman, who is vacationing alone to get a break from her husband and children.

She picks up men for fun and has no hang-ups about it. This particular scene is laced with interesting discussion. Ebba cannot understand her friend’s life choices and freedom and reveals that she is afraid of being left alone- she comes across as judgmental and insecure whereas the friend is confident and secure.

It is a “coffee talk” moment but reveals so much about the characters.

Later, Tomas and Ebba chat with their friends Matts and Fanni. When the discussion turns to the avalanche experience, the situation is analyzed by Matts, leading to tension for all. Matts sides with Tomas, whereas Fanni sympathizes with Ebba.

The disagreement stays with Matts and Fanni throughout the night as they reveal their conflict and put themselves in the other couple’s shoes.

Towards the end of Force Majeure events become strange as Matts and Tomas embark on a relaxing guy’s day out on the ski slope. As they sip drinks and listen to music an attractive female flirtatiously tells Tomas that her friend thinks he is the sexiest man she has ever seen.

Tomas feels like a million bucks and the audience is happy for him- however, the woman quickly returns and informs them that she was mistaken and her friend was referring to another man.

This escalates into a near fight and little dialogue is used throughout the scene. Rather, expressions are widely used. Later, a bizarre scene involves Tomas being accosted by frat boys and forced to guzzle beer- is this imagined or real?

We never find out.

Force Majeure is a spectacle. Scenes of the crisp, white, cascading snow are beautiful. The avalanche scene is amazing and creepy as the snow rapidly comes into view and gets closer and closer to the diners.

Will they be killed we wonder? The climactic scene as the departing vacationers travel by bus down a windy road is quite scary as the inept bus driver has difficulty navigating the bus. Will it crash killing everyone? Is he purposely driving recklessly on a suicide mission? The looming mountainside to the bottom is frightening and fascinating.

Intellectual, curious, and bizarre, Force Majeure (2014) is an international film worth checking out for a unique, cerebral experience.

Independent Spirit Award Nominations: Best International Film

The Virgin Spring-1960

The Virgin Spring-1960

Director Ingmar Bergman

Starring Max von Sydow, Birgitta Valberg

Scott’s Review #243

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Reviewed May 15, 2015

Grade: A

The Virgin Spring is a quiet masterpiece by director Ingmar Bergman.

A Swedish language film, it won the Best Foreign Language Oscar in 1960, surprising for such a dark film.

I have heard about this film for years, but it had alluded me up until this point, and I am finally glad that I viewed it. It is breathtaking and mesmerizing.

A unique film for many reasons, it inspired “revenge” films to follow, specifically The Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave, which is a horror film, yes, while The Virgin Spring is interestingly an art film.

The film also questions morals and the main character’s religious beliefs and reflections on guilt.

The filming is in black and white and the first point that struck me about the film is its gorgeous cinematography and lighting. The brilliant deep contrast of black and white with the illumination of a character’s face while the background is death black is very brazen and reminiscent of Citizen Kane.

It gives the film warmth and glow that contrast perfectly with the bleak subject matter.

The story of The Virgin Spring is a tragedy, yet the filming is so magnificent that it was not until the film concluded and I pondered the actual story that I realized just how horrific it truly is. And that is what Bergman was going for-provoking a thought.

This is not a film to kick back and be entertained while munching a tub of popcorn. It is a film meant to make one think.

An affluent Swedish couple, who owns a farm, lives a peaceful, quiet existence. They are stellar members of their community and church. They are humble, but they can afford to have servants.

They have a beautiful and pampered young daughter named Karin, who is sent to deliver candles to their church one sunny day. Karin is a trusting, virginal, and proper girl. She comes upon a trio of males- two adults and a young boy.

At first, gleefully sharing food with them and enjoying her newfound friends, they soon turn on her and she is viciously raped, robbed, beaten, and murdered.

The look of surprise, pain, and horror on Karin’s face is monumental. As this occurs, a pregnant and spiteful servant, Ingeri, watches in horror from a hiding place. A rival of Karin’s, Ingeri wanted misfortune thrust upon Karin, but as she watches in horror, the expressions on her face portray regret.

As the family hopes and prays that they can find the missing Karin, the men, and boy show up at the farmhouse in need of food and shelter.

Unbeknownst to the family, they are Karin’s rapists and killers, and once the truth is known, the once-sweet parents are out for brutal revenge. The young boy of the trio is guilt-ridden and physically sick from the circumstances.

Is the family’s revenge justified or should they (as good Christians) forgive? This is the moral point of the story.

The conclusion of the film is powerful as the father begs God for forgiveness. He questions his actions. But is he a changed man?

Bergman uniquely and intelligently shoots these scenes with only the father’s back in view as he throws his hands to go. We, the viewer, become one with the father in these moments, which makes for powerful storytelling.

Influential to many subsequent films, The Virgin Spring (1960) is a powerful tale, reminiscent of a fairy tale, that makes the viewer think about the ending.

Subdued yet horrifying, it is meant to be viewed and analyzed.

Oscar Nominations: 1 win-Best Foreign Language Film (won), Best Costume Design, Black-and-White