WINTER LIGHT
NATTVARDSGÄSTERNA
1962, Janus Films, 80 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

“God, why did you desert me?” Master craftsman Ingmar Bergman explores the search for redemption in a meaningless existence in this stark depiction of spiritual crisis. Small-town pastor Tomas Ericsson (Gunnar Björnstrand) performs his duties mechanically before a dwindling congregation; when he is asked to assist with a troubled parishioner’s (Max von Sydow) debilitating fear of nuclear annihilation, Tomas is terrified to find that he can provide nothing but his own uncertainty. Beautifully photographed by Sven Nykvist, WINTER LIGHT is an unsettling look at the human craving for personal validation in a world seemingly abandoned by God.


THE SILENCE
TYSTNADEN
1963, Janus Films, 95 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

Two sisters - the sickly, intellectual Ester (Ingrid Thulin) and the sensual, pragmatic Anna (Gunnel Lindblom) - travel by train with Anna’s young son Johan (Jorgen Lindstrom) to a foreign country seemingly on the brink of war. Attempting to cope with their alien surroundings, the sisters resort to their personal vices while vying for Johan’s affection, and in so doing sabotage any hope for a future together. Regarded as one of the most sexually provocative films of its day, this drama offers a brilliant, disturbing vision of emotional isolation in a suffocating spiritual void.


THE PASSION OF ANNA
EN PASSION
1969, Janus Films, 101 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

The fifth drama that Bergman shot on his beloved Fårö describes a mood of fear and spiritual guilt. Not long after the dissolution of his marriage, and a fleeting liaison with a neighbor (Bibi Andersson), the reclusive Andreas (Max von Sydow) begins an ultimately disastrous affair with the mysterious, beguiling Anna (Liv Ullmann), who has recently lost her own husband and son. The film, which incorporates documentary-style interviews with the actors, blurs the boundaries between fiction and nonfiction, dream and reality, identity and anonymity.


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