The Virgin Spring

"The Virgin Spring - Criterion Collection" (Ingmar Bergman)

What a spectacular film.

Netflixed on 01/16/08.

Set in medieval Sweden, this disturbing tale directed by Ingmar Bergman earned an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film. On the way to deliver candles to a church, the virginal daughter (Birgitta Pettersson) of feudal landowner Töre (Max von Sydow) is savagely raped and murdered. But fate takes a vengeful hand when the killers unknowingly seek food and shelter at the girl's home, and the grief-stricken Töre learns the truth about his visitors. [From The Virgin Spring]

I had last seen this film when I was 19, so did not recall many, if any, of the details, only the general atmosphere. Unlike Ang Lee (who introduces the film), I had seen prior art-house films, but A Virgin Spring still made an impression on me. Amazingly, hearing the Swedish phrases brought back some long dormant Swedish language skills. Not enough to hold a conversation, mind you, but still enough to understand what was said before the subtitles caught up.

Pagan gods are not yet wiped out in medieval Sweden, Odin still has his adherents. Bergman cannot decide if this is acceptable or not: the film is drenched with ambivalence towards religion.

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This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on January 28, 2008 10:29 AM.

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