THE RITE
RITEN
1969, Janus Films, 72 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

In one of Ingmar Bergman’s most stylized and political films, three traveling actors are accused of taking part in a performance deemed pornographic by the state’s authorities. Before an intractable judge, they are forced to defend themselves and their art, but their own personal flaws and scandals also are brought to the fore. Taking place in a shadowy bureaucratic netherworld, the film confronts artistic censorship while also investigating such Bergman-esque themes as sexual violence and the nature of performance.


SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT
SOMMARNATTENS LEENDE
1955, Janus Films, 108 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

After 15 films that received mostly local acclaim, this classic film at last ushered in an international audience for Ingmar Bergman. In turn-of-the-century Sweden, four men and four women attempt to navigate the laws of attraction. During a weekend in the country, the women collude to force the men’s hands in matters of the heart, exposing their pretensions and insecurities along the way. Chock-full of flirtatious propositions and sharp witticisms delivered by such Swedish screen legends as Gunnar Björnstrand and Harriet Andersson, SMILES OF A SUMMER NIGHT is one of cinema’s great erotic comedies.


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.


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