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aka - Tystnaden
Sweden 1963
Directed by
Ingmar Bergman
96 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

The Silence

The final volume of Bergman's "Faith" trilogy along with Through A Glass Darkly and Winter Light reunites Ingrid Thulin and Gunnel Lindblom from the latter film as two sisters holed up in a hotel in an unnamed foreign country with the latter's young son.

Although not evidently concerned with religious faith, the film belongs in the set as what the director referred to as "a negative impression". Whereas the previous two films represented religious certainty (in effect a psychosis) and certainty unmasked in the face of "God's silence" respectively, the subject of religious faith is not addressed directly here, Bergman instead portraying the bitterly barren relationship between Ester (Ingrid Thulin), an alcoholic consumptive and Anna (Gunnel Lindblom) her younger, carnal but frustrated sister, the use of opposites types being a favourite device of Bergman to build his psychological portraits (cf. the Knight and the Squire in The Seventh Seal, Alma and Elisabet in Persona).

Enigmatic, almost surreal, and unremittingly bleak, with Thulin and Lindblom outstanding and Sven Nykvist's superbly fluid black and white photography this is a remarkable work in itself and one which in subject matter looks forwards to the director's better-known Persona. The film was an international commercial success although largely for its ground-breaking sexual explicitness than the director's depiction of spiritual malaise.




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