Compelling evidence for Harriet Andersson as Bergman's most meaningful collaborator. Her performance is fearless and often expressly inward; it's hard to watch any other actor when she's onscreen. Bergman and his troupe's sensitivity for little, human moments -- glances, glares, glazed eyes and dodged kisses -- enable him to say more in 89 minutes than other directors could in 200.
A certain airiness belies the expected complexities - tangled relationships, guilt, illness - which swarm beneath a rather gorgeous surface (Nykvist's twilight cinematography is effective in conveying an otherworldliness). Whether by protocol or design, that Karin's mental anguish is not too heavily laid on - the descent into the wreck aside - aids the still surface disguise of the very dark qualities of this film.
A fine demonstration of Bergman's ability to create a perfectly formed piece that manages to pose fundamental existential questions without compromising the dramatic coherence - perhaps a legacy of his roots in theatre. The film works beautifully at symbolic, poetic, visual and narrative levels, the only slight misstep being the overly explicit final scene.
Works better as a symbolic portrait of alienation than a realistic portrait of schizophrenia, though I came to the film with the baggage of a best friend with psychosis. As often with Bergman, mummery (whether home theatrics or adopting a mask in our interaction w/ loved ones) provides one of the greatest short-term defenses against the fragility of the world but carries long-term danger of cutting one off from life.
A lot of people love this Ingmar Begrman film, and it's a beautiful and melancholic piece to recommend, but something held it back for me. A disconnect, ironically enough (considering the behaviour of the characters being depicted). Certainly still very much worth your time, especially if you are working through Bergman's rewarding filmography.
A stark and devastating story that takes place on a remote island. The island's remoteness makes the madness of Harriet Anderson's character, Karin, even more isolating and affecting to those around her. Karin is visited upon by what she believes to be God, but a God that seems to terrify her. No one around her can help, and that helplessness is perfectly portrayed by the wonderful writing and deft direction.
Although a lot of darkness in this film (Karins illness)I think this film is also about hope. After all, the father comes out of it somehow changed and helps his son in the end. His interpretation, last words, are also about hope and love. Martins dedication to Karin is beautiful too. Liked the film.
"One can't live in two worlds at once". But there are three in the film: the theatrical world of art; the quotidian world of cooking and fishing; and the supernatural world of faith and delusion. Memorable images of each abound: the swoon inducing Princess of Castile; walking along the shore by the inexhaustible waves; undergoing rapture and horror in the upstairs room. But in the end it's simple 'Papa talked to me'
Having seen mental illness in a person close to me I can attest at how well Bergman portrayed the angst and hopelessness one feels at not being able to help. For 1961 this film was ahead of its time in its empathic portrayal of schizophrenia and the cinematography, dialogue, acting and pacing were perfect. If I had any doubts about giving it 10 out of 10 the ending blew those away it was just so beautiful.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. For now we see in a mirror, darkly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.AV