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Foreign Films > Through A Glass Darkly (Ingmar Bergman)

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message 1: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments The first film in Bergman's spiritual trilogy, I seem to have been moved into a different light than intended because I read the film as negative. If god is love, (agape, a type of charitable all-encompising love) the divine spark, then we're all in a world of shit. Caught in webs of self-deception, these characters act out in very human and damaged ways. There is no higher power directing them; the tidal forces have more of a physiological impact than any imaginary avatar. Isn't that the power of Art, to infuse each of us with our own sublime understanding? To see the world in a new sometimes dark light, through our own lens, to feel, to live? Well, this one made me feel alive...

THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY (Ingmar Bergman, 1961, Sweden) On which side of the darkened glass does Karin stand? Is she trapped forever in the spidery murk, the crippled light of hope a taunting reminder of her temporary lucidity; or does she exists in a light that is only sometimes eclipsed by her shadowy fugues? Karin is a shipwreck whose damaged empty hull offers little respite from the coming storm, where her vexing sexuality seeks to destroy her brother: a god’s incestuous love like that of a Black Widow who eats her mate. Director Ingmar Bergman seeks the inner demons through his four characters that stumble precariously upon the rocky shores of faith, surrounded by the pounding surf, like the slow timeless erosion of the human spirit. Karin is suffering from a sever mental illness while her father David uses her disability as a crutch for his own creativity, his alchemical intent to purify her anguish and transform it into literary gold. His son Minus subtracts from the family, a burgeoning playwright whose own attic is obscured by metaphysical cobwebs; he is a young man who desperately need a father’s love. And Martin is Karin’s faithful husband, his tremulous grip upon hope for his wife’s recovery slipping away in a quicksilver flash of lightening, and the thrum of a gasoline powered deity. Karin crosses the nebulous boundaries between worlds, the thin peeling wallpaper separating her from god’s presence, and in a dilapidated forgotten room she experiences a true psychotic epiphany. She finally chooses her world and is taken away while David and Minus gaze over the ocean’s cold horizon: David speaks of god as true love, an abstract ethereal concept that infuses creation with false hope…while Minus is only concerned that “Papa spoke to me”. All have chosen and become lost in their own tiny worlds. (A)

message 2: by Phillip (last edited Feb 07, 2009 07:33PM) (new)

Phillip | 10498 comments harriet andersson is such a great actress, and this is one of her excellent performances with bergman. along with this one, i really enjoy summer with monika and sawdust and tinsel.

message 3: by Steve (new)

Steve | 957 comments Another one I saw on a crappy VHS copy. Moving this to the top 10 of my Netflix queue or will try to get it from the Chicago library (which has a GREAT DVD collection, if any Chicago residents are reading this).

message 4: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments You're welcome Vincent! Please follow through with the entire trilogy! I watched THE SILENCE on Friday and just finished my essay a few hours ago, I'll post soon:)

message 5: by Phillip (last edited Feb 16, 2009 03:32PM) (new)

Phillip | 10498 comments looking forward to your piece on The Silence, alex. that's a really unusual (and great) film.

message 6: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments It is unusual and wasn't quite sure how it fit into the trilogy. But I'm posting now...

message 7: by Phillip (last edited Feb 23, 2009 10:34AM) (new)

Phillip | 10498 comments vincent,

the silence will really throw you. it's a trip!

allow me to make a short list of some essential bergman.

the seventh seal
the virgin spring
wild strawberries

and, it's 3.5 hours, but if you get into bergman, you have to see fanny and alexander. it was meant to be his last film, and it's one of the greatest films ever made (imo)....i mean top, top, TOP, top drawer stuff, you don't get much better on any account from any other film....i've seen it SO many times. there is also a 5-hour version he made for swedish television. mostly, you'll find the 3.5 hour version floating around in the video stores.

and yes...silence. time for the audience to think about what's happening!

the ones listed above are considered his classics and might be a little more accessible (but on the other hand, there are plenty of aspects that are just as challenging). i love the trilogy that alex recommended, don't get me wrong - i just think these others are more of his classic style. this trilogy is really introspective (well, all of his films are, really)...

i also really admire
summer with monika (hard to find)
sawdust and tinsel
the devil's eye (a fantastic and rare comedy)
scenes from a marriage

just my .02

message 8: by Phillip (last edited Feb 23, 2009 10:37AM) (new)

Phillip | 10498 comments you're so welcome....getting me started on bergman is kind of dangerous. he's one of my all time favorite directors. i could blab on endlessly about his work.

do you know wild strawberries? if not, PLEASE put that on your list of things to do.

message 9: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments It already on my list after PERSONA...can't wait.

message 10: by Steve (new)

Steve | 957 comments Bergman's autobiography, The Magic Lantern, is worth reading.

message 11: by Phillip (new)

Phillip | 10498 comments can't wait to hear what you have to say on it. if you review it, i'll scribble some words too...

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