Christians Töre and Märeta send their daughter, the virginal Karin, and their foster daughter Ingeri, to deliver candles to a church. On the way, the girls meet three goat herders who brutally rape and murder Karin. When the killers seek refuge in their family’s farm, Töre plots a fitting revenge.
Ingmar Bergman won his first Academy Award for one of his more brutal films: this vicious, existential revenge drama that would inspire Wes Craven’s horror classic The Last House on the Left. The Virgin Spring marks as well Bergman’s first collaboration with master cinematographer Sven Nykvist.
This is an incredible film that shows that even the most civilized of people can do terrible things when pushed far enough and the anguish that follows from horrific things and the things we do to atone for those sins.
A masterpiece, one of Bergman's most lasting, influential and radiantly photographed. A timeless tale involving themes such as morality and religion, told through complex, subtlely understated emotions and relationships. Theatrical and stylised at times, Bergman manages to bring all the elements together to create a compelling drama both credible and visually captivating.
The Virgin Spring remains one of Bergman's best and most accessible films because it avoids getting bogged down in a lot of his usual angsty pretensions. Instead the viewer is told a simple, haunting tale which plays out like a ballad. I cannot discredit the power of the images enough. The cinematography is nothing short of stunning, the lighting and the staging all perfect. Such an emotional and powerful film.
My favorite classic Bergman film, I actually prefer this to "The Seventh Seal" and "Wild Strawberries" but that is just my personal preference. Those looking for a Bergman movie with a more strict storyline will enjoy this movie.
Bergman's atypical films are his most fun discoveries; I'd take Smiles of a Summer Night or Summer With Monika over the angst of Through a Glass Darkly. But this is "typical" Bergman at his best, and as a medieval tale of an elusive god, it may even top The Seventh Seal simply by demonstrating its point through drama instead of monologues. A simple fable, sprouting complex possible meanings from its little details.