- 1h 35min
An idealistic adolescent, suffering under the thumb of a sadistic schoolmaster, falls in love with a loose girl who is bullied and tormented by another lover.An idealistic adolescent, suffering under the thumb of a sadistic schoolmaster, falls in love with a loose girl who is bullied and tormented by another lover.An idealistic adolescent, suffering under the thumb of a sadistic schoolmaster, falls in love with a loose girl who is bullied and tormented by another lover.
Jan-Erik Widgren (Alf Kjellin) is a young student under the thumb of a sadistic Latin teacher, known by all the students as Caligula. Everyone is afraid of him. Interesting that this is based on some of Bergman's own experiences, as he hated school and hated the institution of school.
Jan-Erik believes that one day he will meet a chaste woman with whom to share his life, though his friend tells him it's impossible, all girls are tramps.
He starts talking with a pretty young woman (Mai Zetterling) who works in a nearby store. That night he sees her drunk on her way home, and he helps her. They have an affair, but she has another lover - she fears him and she's apparently afraid to leave him because of that fear. He's also a terrible bully.
Meanwhile, graduation is drawing near, and as Jan-Erik has his affair and tries to study, his chances for graduation aren't looking all that good. Then something happens that nearly destroys him.
Very good film, exquisitely photographed in black and white. Also, there is not a ton of dialogue. It almost could be a silent. I found the last scene absolutely beautiful.
I remember the star, Alf Kjellin, as an older character actor on shows like "Mission Impossible." Here he is very striking, tall with high cheekbones and an angular face. Mai Zetterling, who is only about 19 and very pretty in this film, is excellent as the tormented woman. She had a good career doing stage work in her native Sweden and then making films in Sweden, Britain, and America. When she turned to directing, her films were sexually liberated and were met with some controversy. She had big affairs with Tyrone Power and Herbert Lom. Her biography is fascinating.
Both give strong performances.
Stig Jarrel as Caligula was a very versatile, fine actor, and here he plays a real demon. He's frightening, like a snake poised to strike. His last scene is extremely powerful.
This film is definitely worth seeing, even though it's not perfect and not a masterpiece. Still, it's effective, with some strong images.
- May 16, 2015