Seminal film in Sweden and for the Bergman oeuvre this is a microcosm of the tormented world and the dim hope that will haunt the great master. Here, the master figure is nearly a Jungian archetype, a shadow with multiple manifestations from tyranny to benevolent liberalism. Filmed in stunning high-angle shots that minimize subjects, and with expressionist style, the faces' angst and desire is a treatise in itself.
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!!
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.
Hablemos de Bergman y su guión para esta película, sobre personajes atormentados que contaminan a otros. Siempre es la mujer, la del pasado amoroso tortuoso que halla a un nuevo amante, "el benevolente", uno que poco a poco va siendo mellado por la misma. El destino es parcialmente trágico, unos perecen, otros se recuperan.
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.
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).