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Foreign Films > Winter Light and Kitchen Stories

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message 1: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments I'm watching WINTER LIGHT tonight as part of Bergman's "Trilogy". I wrote a review of THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY but have not posted it yet. Next Friday is the final film THE SILENCE.

message 2: by Steve (last edited Feb 06, 2009 07:06AM) (new)

Steve | 957 comments Oh man, I watched a horrific VHS copy of Winter Light many many moons ago. I went through a fierce Bergman phase in high school, before DVDs were around.

Will have to get my hands on the DVDs of the Trilogy. I remember loving Through a Glass Darkly especially.

message 3: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5310 comments I don't remember liking THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY particularly, but I was a kid when I saw it, and on a bad TV, to boot.

Haven't seen WINTER LIGHT, dammit. Too many movies, too little time.

message 4: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments The Trilogy Box set from Criterion is the way to go, with new High Defintion masters so the films look great with solid contrast and detail. I wrote a positive review of GLASS but I see it a different way (I think) than Bergman intended.

message 5: by Phillip (last edited Feb 06, 2009 06:44PM) (new)

Phillip | 10494 comments if you haven't seen these films on dvd, the criterion collection did a nice job of cleaning them up and presenting them in a nice collector's box.

these are three really interesting and different films, even for bergman.

winter light is an outstanding examination of a priest in the midst of losing his faith, through a glass darkly is a study in schizophrenia, and the silence really defies description. boy, bergman really stares deep into the mouth of humanity on that one. an amazing film, but not so easy to watch. i watched them all when they were re-released by criterion a few years ago, and was glad i made the effort.

bergman is the gold standard, imo...what an incredible range of themes. he always knows how to present his subjects, no matter how unusual or painful. i wish this group would do a bergman month, but i realize he's not everyone's cup of tea.

nonetheless, fanny and alexander, the seventh seal, wild strawberries, the silence, the devil's eye, the virgin spring, winter light, and persona will always hover up at the top of any favorite film list i might design.

tom, check out winter light...that's all i can really say on the subject. it's top-drawer bergman.

message 6: by Tom (new)

Tom | 5310 comments I've wanted to see WINTER LIGHT, even got it out from netflix, but never got around to watching it. Love the lead actor, Gunnar Bjornstrand, one of my real favorites.

Bergman is hard for me. A local rep house did an extended Bergman series, and I was able to see a lot of them. Basically, when he works, he really works, as in THE SEVENTH SEAL, or THE MAGICIAN or FANNY AND ALEXANDER. And when he doesn't, he really doesn't, as in CRIES AND WHISPERS, which reduced me to helpless giggles in one scene that seemed to have been transplanted from the Carol Burnett Show.

I know I'll see WINTER LIGHT at some stage.

message 7: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments I watched WINTER LIGHT last night. Wow. Here's my short essay:

WINTER LIGHT (Ingmar Bergman, 1962, Sweden) Jona(s) is devoured not by a whale but the creeping spider-god, vomited out upon the banks of a turbulent river, his empty corpse adjacent to the bridge over troubled waters. He is victim to a consuming silence, caught in the web of belief that can only offer obtuse and vacuous explanations, empty words that bring about nuclear fallout, a self-destructive winter of spiritual annihilation. Ingmar Bergman’s film is focused upon Tomas, pastor of a small church whose empty rafters echo hollow with archaic scripture, his small congregation reflecting his bored and apathetic malaise like a flu virus shared during communion. Transubstantiation becomes cannibalism, eating the flesh and blood of a mythic creator, an incestuous penetration that extinguishes humanity to become an automaton spouting inane Holy Writ. Jonas Perssons is the everyman, and he seeks the counsel of his pastor to understand the violent and changing world that hovers on the brink of destruction: but Tomas can only speak of himself, caught in the selfish nexus of angst and regret, and can offer no answer to Jonas…only doubt. Bergman shoots the scene in medium close up, creating a cloistered prison while the clock ticks incessantly towards doomsday. There is no understanding a creator who allows mutilation and murder of its own children, and Tomas begins to discard the ghostly saints that haunt him. He also spurns Märta, a spinster who seeks his affections but her intentions are vague: does she truly love him, or does she relish the status of being a pastor’s wife? She refuses Tomas’s blatant emotional vivisection and accompanies him to Karin’s house where he must impart the suicidal impact of Jonas’s fate. His meaningless offer to share scripture is impractical and pregnant Karin, devastated by the news, must now tell her children. Bergman follows Tomas outside and shoots from his perspective, a voyeuristic glimpse through a glass darkly, and we momentarily hear a child’s mournful cry. Tomas finally arrives back at the church for mass, and though he is reminded of Christ’s suffering alone, he follows his daily routine and begins the faithless service to a nearly empty room. (A+)

message 8: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10494 comments nice reading, alex. what a great film!

message 9: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments Thank you:) I'll post my essay of THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY in this forum.

message 10: by Mawgojzeta (new)

Mawgojzeta KITCHEN STORIES was an excellent film. I enjoyed it so much that I bought the movie (a big deal coming from a chronic library-borrower).

message 11: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10494 comments I just watched Through A Glass Darkly again last night. I think that's the third time I saw it. It gets better and better with repeat viewings. Harrier Andersson is outstanding in it. It has a remarkable kind of crescendo, where the lead character delves slowly into madness. And the film has a lot of biographical elements, regarding the father and son characters. Bergman was the classic absent father apparently.

Never saw Kitchen Stories...I'll look for it.

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