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

Not Rated  |   |  Drama  |  16 October 1961 (Sweden)
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 14,154 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 44 critic

Recently released from a mental hospital; Karin rejoins her emotionally disconnected family and their island home, only to slip from reality as she begins to believe she is being visited by God.



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



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Complete credited cast:
Lars Passgård ...


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




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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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?


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


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


Martin: You're hunting for themes. Your own daughter's mental illness. What a great bloody idea!
See more »


Referenced in Three Scenes with Ingmar Bergman (1975) See more »

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User Reviews

"For now we see through a glass, darkly"- Bible, 1 Corinthians xiii. 12.
12 June 2006 | by (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

Well, we don't see darkly through a glass, and Bergman explains in his "Introductions" that during the ancient times, there were no glass, the mirrors were made of metal, bronze, for instance and while looking through the metal mirror, the face and the background appear darker than in reality. Does it mean that when we look inside ourselves like in the mirror, we appear darker and more sinister than we are? Or the other way around?

"Through a Glass Darkly" is a typically great Bergman's film - four people arrive to an isolated island to spend a few days together, a young woman, her husband, father, and brother. They seem to love one another and are perfectly happy and comfortable in the beginning. It does not last long - not in the Bergman's world. Harriet Anderson was amazing as Karin, a mentally sick young woman, who was just released from the hospital but I believe three other actors playing Father (Gunnar Bjornstrand), Husband (Max von Sydow), and Brother (Lars Passgård) were as good as she was. The Father was especially interesting - he was a reason Karin became ill on the first place and his diary sent her to the total mental breakdown. As with "Persona" and "Autumn Sonata", Bergman is asking again how far is an Artist willing to go for his Art? Here, Father, the writer wants to be a cool and remote observer of his daughter's mental tragedy as a study for his future work. There is a hope, though, in the end. Not for Karin - it is too late for her - but for her confused young brother who is also fighting for his sanity and desperately needs his father's love and understanding. His last words - "Daddy talked to me" - give this bleak and tragic story the hope that his life could be different. Or maybe not...

47 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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