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Winter Light (1963)
"Nattvardsgästerna" (original title)

 -  Drama  -  5 April 1963 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 10,847 users  
Reviews: 57 user | 40 critic

A small town priest struggles with his faith.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Gunnel Lindblom ...
...
Allan Edwall ...
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 more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

5 April 1963 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Les communiants  »

Filming Locations:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A considerable amount of the scenes had to be re-shot due to technical problems with sound and film stock. 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

Märta Lundberg, Schoolteacher: God, why have you created me so eternally dissatisfied? So frightened, so bitter? Why must I realize how wretched I am? Why must I suffer so hellishly for my insignificance? If there is a purpose to my suffering, then tell me, so I can bear my pain without complaint. I'm strong. You made me so very strong in both body and soul, but you never give me a task worthy of my strength. Give my life meaning, and I'll be your obedient slave.
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Connections

Referenced in Ingmar Bergman on Life and Work (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Best film ever about life
22 January 2006 | by (Genk, Belgium) – See all my reviews

With this one Bergman touches the inner soul like no one ever did on film. The movie is about depression, how to deal with your principal beliefs when you don't believe in them anymore, "God's escaping me..." We feel the priest running out of strenght and slowly fading away in his disbeliefs, he then finds a man who he can relate to (Due to the depression he has, as heard about the bomb which the Chinese are creating, they are learnt to hate) He kind of uses him to give himself the power to get on with his own life, he doesn't listen to the man, but he explains his own problems, due to this the man kills himself, it's now the task of the priest to tell his wife, and by this he finds himself again, feeling again what his role in this so cruel world is. "What's the meaning of life" he says, "we can only know if we fight against ourself and our inner soul which leads us to suicide" that's why we live. Everything fits together so perfect, it's almost like I was living the movie. The characters play excellent, the cold winter settings make part of the mood the film was made for, make you feel, and that's why this movie is so excellent. It's a not so easy one but once you understand what it tells you realise why this movie exceeds storytelling of today's crap we get to see in theatres. Few films are so true and realistic.

I haven't seen all of Bergman's films, but for now this is the masterpiece 10/10


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