To close out my Bergman-a-thon, I thought I’d go with Through a Glass Darkly, the first film in what would later be known as Bergman’s Silence of God trilogy. The film features four Bergman regulars, including Max von Sydow and Harriet Andersson, takes place entirely on an island, and entirely within a 24-hour period. Thus the film is extremely self-contained, left to its own devices; the way Bergman works best.
The film begins tepidly, in medias res, as the four main characters emerge from the sea laughing happily and having a good time. From there, the film is a slow reveal of a downward spiral, as each of the problems and insecurities of each of them begins to rise to the surface; mostly Karin’s schizophrenia and how it affects the rest of the family, as well as Minus’ worries about his relationship with his father. It’s all typical Bergman, really. Even with its unique structure, this is still a Bergman film at heart; the camera movements he is so fond of, the superlative and wisp-like nature of the plot, the questions that arise of the nature of the spirit and the characters’ souls, everything is here in some form.
I wonder where Bergman dreams up the ideas and stories for his films. Does he choose a theme he’d like to explore and works a story around that, or does he fiddle with bits and pieces of an idea until a theme emerges, then puts it all together? All of his films are structured pretty much the same way, and run through the same mood, so really why there are so many on the list is up for debate. Sure, they’re all good, but it is somewhat over-saturating to have so much to go through, especially in a mini marathon. I’ll have to break up the rest of Bergman’s films over a period of time, mostly so I don’t get too used to them, but still, I like his films enough that I’m looking forward to the rest. This was a good one, helped along by its structure and self-containment, and if you’re looking for a good Bergman film either to start out on or to continue your journey with the man, this’ll do quite nicely.
Arbitrary Rating: 7/10