Friday, 24 June 2011
Winter Light 
The second chapter in Bergman’s much acclaimed “Trilogy of Faith”, Winter Light is a fierce, austere and distressing examination on religion, faith and despair. This would rank as one of the starkest and bleakest films made by the Swedish master – that’s something given that Bergman was never known for making easy, audience-friendly movies anyway. The film has only three characters worth noting – Tomas (Gunnar Bjornstrand), a middle-aged pastor in a small rural church, suffering from a severe bout of spiritual crisis and emotional turbulence, and tormented by his inability to decide on god’s existence; Marta (Ingrid Thulin), a school-teacher and Tomas’ former mistress who’s almost devotional in her blind love for the seemingly cold pastor; and, Jonas (Max Von Sydow), a suicidal fisherman who somehow seems to the pastor as an extrapolation of his subconscious. Completely bereft of music and shot in static black-and-white, Bergman employed lingering moments of silence, long takes, uncomfortable close-ups, and a desolate surrounding to reflect not just “God’s silence” but also the complex and disconsolate state of the pastor’s mind. The fact that the pastor is a stand-in for the director himself, makes this harsh, superbly-enacted drama that much more poignant and powerful.
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Religious Drama