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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tystnaden (The Silence)


This 1963 Ingmar Bergman black and white film tells the story of two sisters, Ester and Anna, and Anna’s young son that while traveling had to stop in an unnamed strange country on the verge of war, because the elder sister Esther got ill. But actually is about symbiotic sisters that torment each other in a hotel where a boy wanders around among old people and dwarves. This is the third film of Bergman’s “God trilogy” and was one of his most controversial.

If it remains risky and experimental it is not for its intimations of incest but for the post-apocalyptic landscape of emotions it traverses: a truly desolate foreign land, where language is reduced to ciphers (the language you hear is Bergman’s and the actor creation), and sex to a brittle ritual of humiliation; where God is no longer even an absence.

But, when was released the American press labeled it as “semi-pornographic film” with a poster from the NY Daily News that read: “On incest, self-defilement and nymphomania…” The picture in the left is the promotional poster . Today according to my eyes, is nothing even close to any “normal” movie with light sex scenes, so the attraction between the two sisters is slightly suggested and Anna’s infidelities with a stranger is barely shown.

But what this movie has and is outstanding is that will make you feel every single little and big thing that happens in the movie. Absolutely everything.

With outstanding hypnotic performances by Ingrid Thulin (Ester) and Gunnel Lindblon (Anna) and the young boy you’ll be transported to a world of intense sensations, a magnificent camera that has been described as Bergman and Nykvist’s most outstanding cinematographic achievements for the degree of difficulty to shoot most scenes and a story without much words –that’s why is called The Silence- as Bergman desired to do a film with very little dialogues, you will be mesmerized and when the movie is over and your eyes are glued to the screen and can’t take them from there as your brain is thinking and thinking thousand words a second and you wish the movie continues, but know that Bergman wouldn’t give more than what you, viewer, deserve. Exhausting.

Written by Bergman and based on dreams he had, The Silence is also the inspiration for movies like Persona and Cries and Whispers; and won the Best Actress for Ingid Thulin, the Best Direction for Ingmar Bergman and the Best Film in the 1964 Guldbagge Awards, all this after being the object of discussion and civil action by church and by the Swedish Parliament.

This is one not to miss if you wish to increase your Bergman adoration. Enjoy!

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