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 »
Max von Sydow
The title characters are children in the exuberant and colorful Ekdahl household in a Swedish town early in the twentieth century. Their parents, Oscar and Emilie, are the director and the leading lady of the local theatre company. Oscar's mother and brother are its chief patrons. After Oscar's early death, his widow marries the bishop and moves with her children to his austere and forbidding chancery. The children are immediately miserable. The film dramatizes and resolves those conflicts. A sub-plot features Isak, a local Jewish merchant who is the grandmother's lover and whose odd household becomes the children's refuge. Written by
Among the Christmas decorations in the Ekdahl house, there is a garland of miniature flags of Scandinavian countries, including the Finnish flag. The Finnish flag was in fact only designed and adopted after Finnish independence in 1917, a decade after the events of the film. See more »
Ekdahlska huset - Oscar Ekdahl:
My dear friends, for 22 years, in the capacity of theater manager, I've stood here and made a speech without really having any talent for that sort of thing. Especially if you think of my father who was brilliant at speeches. My only talent, if you can call it that in my case, is that I love this little world inside the thick walls of this playhouse, and I'm fond of the people who work in this little world. Outside is the big world, and sometimes the little world succeeds in reflecting the big ...
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This film could never have been made in the United States. I realize when it was made Bergman had been around for a long time and had his own clout but it still has too much of a philosophical slant to be mainstream here. This film is amazing. The first hour moves at a slow pace but it really sets up the rest of the movie well and then it really picks up. The cinematography is breathtaking and while this story makes you think a lot you don't feel ambivalent towards the characters through the rest of the first film after having been slowly introduced to all the characters you have a certain identifcation that is purely emotional and blends wonderfully with the other aspects of the film. It's truly great and should be considered one of Bergman's best works.
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