8.1/10
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Winter Light (1963)

Nattvardsgästerna (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 5 April 1963 (USA)
A small town priest struggles with his faith.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Gunnel Lindblom ...
...
...
Algot Frövik, Sexton
Kolbjörn Knudsen ...
Knut Aronsson, Warden
Olof Thunberg ...
Fredrik Blom, Organist
Elsa Ebbesen ...
Magdalena Ledfors, Widow
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Storyline

On a cold winter's Sunday, the pastor of a small rural church (Tomas Ericsson) performs service for a tiny congregation; though he is suffering from a cold and a severe crisis of faith. After the service, he attempts to console a fisherman (Jonas Persson) who is tormented by anxiety, but Tomas can only speak about his own troubled relationship with God. A school teacher (Maerta Lundberg) offers Tomas her love as consolation for his loss of faith. But Tomas resists her love as desperately as she offers it to him. This is the second in Bergman's trilogy of films dealing with man's relationship with God. Written by <amanderik@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

faith | pastor | winter | priest | suicide | See All (9) »

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Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

5 April 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les communiants  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When she saw the completed film, Ingmar Bergman's then wife Kabi Laretei said, "Yes, Ingmar, it's a masterpiece. But it's a dreary masterpiece." See more »

Goofs

In the vestry (or office) to the side of the church, as Tomas realises that he believes life is more understandable without the presence of God, the light through the window behind him intensifies. Assuming the church building has an east-west orientation (as churches tend to do), the light is coming from a northerly direction. Yet, when he later re-enters the church proper (and collapses by the altar rail), the sun is clearly visible, low in the sky, through the window at the opposite (southern) side of the building. See more »

Quotes

Algot Frövik, Sexton: The passion of Christ, his suffering... Wouldn't you say the focus on his suffering is all wrong?
Tomas Ericsson, Pastor: What do you mean?
Algot Frövik, Sexton: This emphasis on physical pain. It couldn't have been all that bad. It may sound presumptuous of me - but in my humble way, I've suffered as much physical pain as Jesus. And his torments were rather brief. Lasting some four hours, I gather? I feel that he was tormented far worse on an other level. Maybe I've got it all wrong. But just think of Gethsemane, Vicar. Christ's disciples...
[...]
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Connections

Follows Through a Glass Darkly (1961) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The closest thing to a perfect film I've ever seen
22 July 2000 | by (California) – See all my reviews

It's a real shame that you are unlikely to find this movie in your local video rental store. It's relentlessly concentrated, uncompromising and beautiful. It's paced slowly at the beginning, drawing the viewer in, but repays the effort you put in (and it's pretty short).

The story focuses on a disillusioned priest in a remote village who is unable to accept the love offered him by Marta, his friend, and unable to offer the conviction of his faith to save a fisherman from suicide. There are several hidden references to the crucifixion: the time covered in the movie (noon to 3 pm) is the same as the time Jesus spent on the cross; the location of Marta's skin disease corresponds to the "stigmata" or wounds from the nails.

I can't recommend this film strongly enough. Every time I see it I am stunned by the beauty and meaning in every single frame.


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