Tuesday 21 June 2011
Through a Glass Darkly 
Through a Glass Darkly was Ingmar Bergman’s first entry to what would come to be known as “Trilogy of Faith” or “Chamber Dramas”. This profoundly complex human drama is a deeply philosophical work filled with themes ranging from religious ambivalence to familial dysfunction to sexual awakening to clinical illness. The film comprises of just four characters – Karin (Harriet Andersson), a disturbed young lady who’s suffering from slow mental disintegration; her father David (Gunnar Bjornstrand), a famous writer who is studying her daughter with cold detachment; Martin (Max Von Sydow), her loving husband and a compassionate doctor; and, Minus, her emotionally fragile brother having difficulty in coming to terms with his adolescence. Shot in gorgeous black-and-white, largely bereft of music, and set in a single location – that of an isolated island, this is a searing yet poetically beautiful examination of human alienation and isolation (both emotional and spiritual), and the inherent godlessness of our universe. The film, in keeping with Bergman’s fascination with the dark recesses of the human mind, is filled with disturbing elements and subtexts (most notably Karin's complicated relation with Minus), all brought forth through immensely layered storytelling. Great turns by the cast, especially Harriet Andersson, made the film all the more absorbing.
Director: Ingmar Bergman
Genre: Drama/Psychological Drama/Religious Drama/Family Drama