The second part of the director’s Silence of God trilogy, which began with Through a Glass Darkly and concludes with The Silence, follows a rural priest with a dwindling congregation as he tackles both an existential and a spiritual crisis.
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There is just something about this film that feels overtly sexual to me. Gunnar Bjornstrand is nothing short of brilliant here as a preacher with a crisis of faith on Bergman's ongoing quest to find the truth in spirituality.
The priests face is finally fully illuminated in the cold winter light. This is a moment of revelation for him. There is no god. And it is utterly despairing. This is after giving a speech to a suicidal man terrified of nuclear annihilation. It took the intense fear of another man’s suspicions of higher powers at play to make him finally release all feelings on his own conclusion that indeed, there is not.
Bergman is his characters. His crowds do not consist of people, but masses: they aren't individuals until they scream “I” and when they do they paint themselves as uncertain kings, with no followers other than themselves. Their loneliness reigns over small deserts, yet rarely finds closure. They endow some certainty, which they choose to safeguard in a pillbox. Yet all it takes for its walls to crumble back to sand ↓
One of my favorite Bergman. Max von Sydow is tormented by the possibility of nuclear war. I can relate. Me too. Conventional war is also dreadful and really bothers me. But I don't waste my time naively asking a useless clergyman for guidance. I just watch a good film and try not to think about how horrible humanity is.
Seen this movie just after Malicks "To the Wonder". Both show a pastor stuggling with God's Silence. - Won't dare to compare the two here.
But it brings up an important criterion: I am always suspicious for dogmatic views, "answers" that try to get me to a particular point (Mal.).
I admire Mister B.s ways of keeping questions and meanings in suspense. I felt invited to discuss his inputs in this unforgettable piece.
This film was absolutely incredible. Every scene is so well crafted both in script and shots that I was astounded. It was one of the films that I had been looking forward to the most by Ingemar Bergman and it is I believe his most perfect film. The scene of the Letter being read is breathtaking as the acting of Bergman's troop is pushed to it's extreme. Potent full of the weight of black and white & faith and doubt.