Wednesday, October 13, 2010

1963 - THE SILENCE, Ingmar Bergman's film is unbelievably grim.

Ingmar Bergman's film is the story of two sisters stuck in a strange European town in the middle of what appears to be a civil war.  The sisters are a study in alienation.  One of them is dying, the other has a son and resents her dying sister.  The film has intense black and white photography, lots of scenes of isolation, a creepy setting in a strange hotel, (which reminds me of the Overlook Hotel from The Shining)  and a bunch of dwarfs.  In other words this is a typical Ingmar Bergman film. 

There is a lot of sex and eroticism in this film but trust me absolutely no one is having a good time.   This is another example of the kind of film that screams "artistic foreign film" with some dirty stuff in it.  From the opening austere credits at the beginning of the film to the almost complete lack of a background score, this film was never going to be anyone's idea of a popcorn movie. 

I'll go with the prevailing interpretation that the two sisters represent the intellectual and sensual sides of the personality.  I also believe that these two women actually are different parts of Bergman's persona.  Ingmar Bergman the chilly intellectual attempting to understand his place in the universe and what the role of God or a divine presence is in his rationalism. Or Ingmar Bergman the sensual Scandinavian who wants to let his his Freudian ego run amok.

Bergman was married 5 times and had major relationships with 3 of his primary actresses.  The film Trolosa is pretty much an autobiographical account of the mess he made out of one married woman's life.  Bergman is a fascinating guy.

The Silence is one of the reasons I stopped watching Ingmar Bergman's films over twenty years ago.
The film is unquestionably well made and acted but after a while watching Bergman work out his emotional obsessions on screen finally got to be a major chore.  Ingmar Bergman's unrelentingly dour view of people and himself finally exhausted me.

96 depressing minutes

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