BTXXXV 1961: Through a Glass Darkly

Through a Glass Darkly (Såsom i en spegel). Ingmar Bergman. 1961. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐★.

Harriet Andersson is back! After the relationship with Bergman ended (and Bergman started one with her sister), she’d been gone from Bergman’s films for some years. Along with Gunnar Björnstrand and Max von Sydow, this little film has an extremely solid cast. Even the kid who plays, er, the kid is excellent.

And, since it’s about god and stuff, it’s another Oscar win for Bergman.

It’s the first film done on what was to become Bergman’s main scene for his subsequent films: The Fårö island. And Sven Nyqvist is back behind the camera, so everything is finally in place for the next decade’s worth of iconic films.

But if you had an idea of a prototypical serious Bergman film, this fits all the cliches: Insanity, god, plays, summer. It’s still pretty awesome.

The final Oscar-trolling scene is kinda ridic.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.

BTXXXIV 1960: The Devil’s Eye

The Devil’s Eye (Djävulens öga). Ingmar Bergman. 1960. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐★.

The studio had bought the rigths to a dusty Danish comedy called The Return of Don Juan. Dymling and I entered into a shameful agreement. I wanted to direct The Virgin Spring, which he detested. He wanted me to direct The Devil’s Eye which I detested.

So another Bergman comedy, reluctantly made, and, as usual with these films, quite fun.

However, the plot has perhaps not aged that well. The vast majority of the film is dedicated to watching two men talk two women into their beds (separately), and there comes a point where that goes from amusing to abusive.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.

BTXXXIII 1960: Storm Weather

Storm Weather (Oväder). Ingmar Bergman. 1960. ⭐⭐⭐⭐★★.

This is a TV play shown on the occasion of Strindberg’s 111th birthday or something equally spurious. It features nobody from Bergman’s usual coterie of actors, so perhaps they’re all taken from Bergman’s theatre ensemble?

As theatre actors most of them deliver their lines very crisply and precisely, but there’s one guy who has no “k”s in his diction and is quite nasal… Very difficult to follow.

Fortunately this copy from the Bergman Pirate has English subtitles.

Of the TV theatre pieces so far, this is the most “just point some cameras towards the stage” one. I really like it, though… in parts. The guy who plays “The Guy” isn’t very interesting. And has bad diction.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.

BTXXXII 1960: The Virgin Spring

The Virgin Spring (Jungfrukällan). Ingmar Bergman. 1960. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐★.

This is Bergman’s first Oscar win? It’s not difficult to guess why (spoiler warning: God turns out to be real; i.e., instant US appeal). Even so, it’s rather good.

Sven Nykvist is back as the cinematographer, and that really shows. Every scene is a perfect little tableau.

And Ulla Isaksson, who wrote the recent Brink of Life Bergman film, wrote the script, so apparently Bergman was really impressed. But it’s the last film he would direct that wasn’t based on his own script for decades. The next one is…. Oh! In 1986! And it’s written by Ulla Isaksson again!

And it is a stark and unexpected film. Less of Bergman’s usual ticks and more strangeness.

This post is part of the 87 Bergman Things series.