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Religious symbolism in Ansiktet (The Magician)
Most of Ingmar Bergman's films are meant to titillate the intellect. The Magician is no exception. It is rich with symbolism. I think it ranks right up there with "Death in Venice" on the list of misunderstood movies.
I believe the most rewarding level of meaning in "The Magician" is the religious one. Bergman was often concerned with the implications of religious beliefs. And almost always from the attitude of doubt. Consider the lines in The Seventh Seal where the vicious monk, annoyed with the knight's persistence, asks, "Will you never stop asking questions?" and the knight replies resolutely, "No. Never."
Watching this movie with the idea of Vogler as Jesus provides a perspective that informs the characters and their conduct. This melancholy magician, doubted and persecuted by the powerful, surrounded by strange and suspicious persons, is simultaneously visionary and earthy flesh and blood. He only wants to perform his miracles for the masses. Or is he a charlatan? What a powerful way to pose that question.