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Through a Glass Darkly (1961)
"Såsom i en spegel" (original title)

8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 12,071 users  
Reviews: 56 user | 43 critic

A young woman, Karin, has recently returned to the family island after spending some time in a mental hospital. On the island with her is her lonely brother and kind, but increasingly ... See full summary »

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Title: Through a Glass Darkly (1961)

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 2 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Lars Passgård ...
Minus
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Storyline

A young woman, Karin, has recently returned to the family island after spending some time in a mental hospital. On the island with her is her lonely brother and kind, but increasingly desperate husband ('Max von Sydow'). They are joined by Karin's father ('Gunnar Björnstrand'), who is a world-traveling author that is estranged to his children. The film depicts how Karin's grip on reality slowly slips away and how the bonds between the family members are changing in light of this fact. Written by Mio

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

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Drama

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Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

16 October 1961 (Sweden)  »

Also Known As:

Through a Glass Darkly  »

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1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first Ingmar Bergman film to be made on the island of Faro. Bergman would later buy a home on the island. See more »

Goofs

As Minus paints the chair, the amount of paint on the chair changes between shots. See more »

Quotes

Karin: Funny, you always say and do the very right thing... and it's always wrong.
See more »

Connections

Followed by The Silence (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

 
I don't know what to put here....it's damn good. watch it
15 July 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Through a Glass Darkly marks one of the first collaborations between Bergman and his long time cinematographer Sven Nykvist (who passed away this last September). Nykvist shot films as varied as Lasse Hallestroms 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape' to Woody Allen's 'Crimes and Misdemeanors.' Nykvist's touch is present throughout the film, a style that begins to become a part of Bergman's signature mise-en-scene.

Bergman's screenplay is transitional because of it's scarcity of saturation. Using a cast of only four and only one location, the family's country home on an island off the coast of Sweden. Karin (Harriet Andersson) is slowly going mad, her family (fiancée, father and brother) are trying to understand her and not send her away, trying to let her know that things may be alright as she descends into hysteria, talking to walls, waiting for god to come out of the closet.

The film is quite simply a masterpiece. A portrayal of descent into madness and the effect on others that feels more grounded in reality than even the best of films on madness (see: Shock Corridor – Samuel Fuller, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest – Milos Foreman, or The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada – Tommy Lee Jones) Nykvist's mostly static camera gives the film a brooding sense of anticipation, lingering motionlessly, allowing the actors to move freely into deep frames, marginalizing themselves as they move about the large empty frame. The camera even goes so far as to linger a little too long at times, waiting long after the actors have exited the frame, making sure that the audience is aware that the hollowness, these spaces they live and think in exist without them, these voids the audience is watching never go away.

These sentiments are echoed by the well penned script. The father's regret over the madness of his deceased wife, the husbands jealousy, his inability to act, the nearly sexual love the brother feels for Karin, his isolation and inability to get over his immaturity. It's a delicately woven, exquisitely beautiful film on the landscapes of the mind and the solitude of life and the search for god. A good introduction to the psychological drama of Bergman for anyone unfamiliar with one cinema's masters.


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