vineri, 12 mai 2017

The Virgin Spring written by Ulla Isaksson and directed by Ingmar Bergman

The Virgin Spring written by Ulla Isaksson and directed by Ingmar Bergman

A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:

Virgin Spring is a chef d’oeuvre.
Given that the director is the famous, magnificent Ingmar Bergman, it is no surprise.

The film won:

-          The Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1961
-          In the same year the Golden Globe in the same category
-          A special mention and was nominated for Palme d’Or, in the year when La Dolce Vita won the most coveted of all cinema prizes

This fabulous work benefits from a spectacular cast:

-          Max von Sydow is Tore, Gunnel Lindblom is Ingeri and Birgitta Petterson plays Karin

Max von Sydow needs no further introduction and I noted on one of his many successes a few days ago:

-          Snow Falling on Cedars, but this demi god of cinema has been involved in 161 films!
-          Some of these are capital works of art:
-          The Seventh Seal, Through a Glass Darkly, Wild Strawberries, The Passion of Anna- all of these under the direction of the titan Ingmar Bergman

With the same genius, director Ingmar Bergman, Gunnel Lingblom has collaborated on The Silence and Scenes form a Marriage, together with the aforementioned The Seventh Seal and Wild Strawberries.

Ingeri: [First lines] God Odin- come... God Odin, come... God Odin, come...
From the very first words, the audience can perceive the importance that religion, beliefs and superstitions will have in this film.

Ingeri is a servant and half-sister of the heroine.
This “wild cat” is pregnant and because she is not married in fourteenth century Sweden she is an outcast.

And she is envious of Karin.
Karin is the virgin from the title and the rather spoiled daughter of Tore, portrayed with strength, restraint and acumen by Max von Sydow.

This black and white film has some clear demarcation in terms of the conflict between:

-          good and bad, right and wrong

Karin is the epitome of purity, innocence, immaculate spirit, but she may also represent the danger of ignorance.
She has been protected, spoiled and spared the knowledge of the dangerous aspects of the world that she could face.

-          And when there is peril, alas, she does not see it.

It seemed rather reckless that the family sends this virgin that has very little knowledge of the world through the woods.
In a twisted way, I thought what they would speculate on a terrible incident like the one that takes place in the film:

-          It must have been the Mexicans- after all, the Trump supporters elected him- and they still have an incredible and outrageous liking for this foolish man- after he kept lamenting on the “Mexican rapists” and the “beautiful, beautiful wall „that he will build

Early on in the film, tragedy strikes and the poor Virgin is attacked near a spring, after being kind to her assailants.

She could not tell from their looks that her generosity would be rewarded with savagery and viciousness.
Horribly, the half-sister is wishing for and praying that this innocent, blameless victim gets punished for…the better life she had enjoyed so far.

This is a quote from this astounding film:

Töre: You see it, God. You see it. The innocent child's death and my revenge. You allowed it. I don't understand You. I don't understand You. Yet, I still ask your forgiveness. I know no other way to live. I promise You, God... here on the dead body of my only child, I promise you that, to cleanse my sins, here I shall build a church. On this spot. Of mortar and stone... and with these, my hands.

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