Ingmar Bergman’s first produced screenplay was for the great Swedish filmmaker Alf Sjöberg’s Torment, a dark coming-of-age drama about a boarding-school senior, Widgren, terrorized by his sadistic Latin teacher.
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I really enjoyed this film. And, especially enjoyed it's similarity (story-wise and thematically at least) its similarities to David Lynch's Blue Velvet... (it also has a piece of dialogue that has strong echoes of the later film: "when you lift up a large stone in the garden, don't be surprised when you find bugs" - or something like that).
In high we used to replace Latina with "latrina" (English has a related term). That plentifully reveals our feelings as knowing Latin is easier said than done. I had toe curls hearing "ablative" alone, but Latin phrases entirely retained the vintage, mothball flavoured paleo-chichi they have always boasted. Harry Potter launched an ill-fated pet owl fad, too bad it didn't relaunch Latin among naive wannabe Hermionas.
Swedish cinema was one the world's greatest: Sjostrom, Molander, Bergman, Stiller and now Sjoberg confirm this. Written by Bergman, "Torment" is full of his themes: repression and perversion, a love story that turns bad and a profound concern for the idealistic youth, death, grief and redemption. Almost a film noir in thematic obsessions, lightning dramaturgy, expressive approach to "off" and space-camera relations.
Fascinating to hear Bergman's voice so identifiable in its early form; the script seems so quintessentially his. Really interesting expressionist camerawork, yet very different from the expressionist style Bergman himself would use in his first decade of directing.
Ingmar Bergman's first screenplay (and his first shot at directing by doing the end scene) throw in from the start a shitbag of an authority figure who terrorizes everyone and rape beautiful women. He tops it all off with young love and a scene where a man learns how to play around with the abused girl's pussy.
Victor Sjöström & Ingmar Bergman team for an attractive, affecting film with moments of genuine suspense. In one scene, thunder fights for the attention of a room full of young men, & I am reminded of Fellini & Capra.
The sadistic teacher story gets a little heavy handed, but it's forgivable. Alf Kjellin & Mai Zetterling make me believe Widgren & Bertha are in love. Bergman's writing is sensitive. And the kitten!!