Thirst (1949) Poster

(1949)

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8/10
Very interesting early Bergman movie
gelasma7 October 2005
True, the movie has got a few flaws, mostly in the construction; the structure lacks necessity and the flashbacks appear a bit randomly, it seems. However, the essential Bergman is already present (it's 1949): a few absolutely superb close-ups on the main characters' faces, the way people suddenly appear on camera, from unexpected angles, etc. And Bergman is already displaying some of the themes he will use constantly : the train travel, war and ruins as a background for difficult relationships, plus of course the impossibility and at the same time the inevitability of the relationship between man and woman : it's doomed, but there's no other way... In fact, the French title is "La fontaine d'Aréthuse", which points to this very idea. Precisely, I'd like to discuss another point : the original title is "Thirst". And in fact, people in the movie drink a lot : wine, beer, milk, or fail to drink : in a dramatic moment, one character refuses to drink coffee, tea is prepared, but doesn't taste good. I believe people never drink water, but water (the sea) is the backdrop for the happiest moment of the movie and the most desperate (with the suggestion of a suicide). For Bergman, I believe, Man is essentially thirsty, is desperately thirsty for something to calm and comfort him. But the world is hostile, relationships can offer only brief moments of satisfaction on a backdrop of tension and pain. Other comments on this title ? Very interesting movie overall.
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6/10
Interesting, but not the best
ian_harris7 January 2003
Interesting film, but this is clearly not the very best of the great Bergman. Several relationships are examined under the microscope (so far, so Bergman). The film jumps around between the relationships in a slightly distracting way, but eventually you get to the bottom of who used to be with whom etc.

Gosh it's bleak out there, Bergman seems to share Strindberg's views on marriage and relationships at this time - the references to Strindberg stress that point. There's adultery, bitter rows between partners, lesbianism (inexplicit) and suicide. It ought to have me at the edge of my seat, but somehow doesn't quite do the business for me in the way that most Bergman films do. Perhaps this one hasn't aged well.

Worth seeing for the dedicated Bergman fan - it's pretty short and has its moments. If you are looking for an initial view of Bergman, look elsewhere.
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7/10
Long Live the Marriage!
zolaaar2 July 2008
Women on the verge of a nervous breakdown, men looking for dominance, acted out on a small scale: Here, Bergman serves up some technical and contentual elements which can be found throughout his later career. Several short stories written by Birgit Tengroth, who is playing Viola here, are melded, with the main plot involving Rut (Eva Henning) and Bertil (Birger Malmsten). But as soon as the couple arrives the train which will take them on a journey through Europe, Bergman somehow loses all side threads. One can sense how the director exerts to stage his idea of a marital- and love drama, though, it soon appears as a pretty faint attempt and at the end all plot lines remain fragmentarily. The characters and the images, however, linger. They tell the underlying story of Törst and convey this certain feeling of freedom, self-determination, and desire for love presented in a "steely, self-assured, stripped-down directorial style" which is Bergman's very own. That is why with this film one can expect something in the subsequent films of this yet young talent: a great subtlety in cinematic character psychology and lasting, poignant images.
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9/10
Bergman perfects his direction of photography and actors
wickest5 August 2007
I thought I had seen every Bergman film ever made, so I was thrilled to stumble onto this one the week after he died. I had no trouble following the intertwining stories because I kept track of the characters' names and their relationships. So what confused many viewers seemed totally justified, especially compared to films in our post-Altmam era where more and more we see "stories" where seemingly unconnected people's lives crisscross and are junxtaposed ("Magnolia," and "Babel" to name a few).

The filming is fantastic for the time and prefigures the use of close ups in "Through a Glass Darkly." Very different from "Port of Call" just before and "To Joy" just afterwards. I found the film less bleak than "Prison," its lyrical moments prefiguring "Summer Interlude," one of my favorite early Bergmans.

The lesbianism was blatant enough for me, much more obvious than in "Young Man With A Horn," made around the same time in the US. Curiously, this section of the film helped illuminate Bergman's use of the theme in "The Silence," and this makes me want to view that film again. The fact that this is a film Bergman didn't write is intriguing, because he harmonizes his visual language to the rhythms of the screenwriter's oral one. The dialog was rather light for the seriousness of the situations. Perhaps Bergman himself would have been heavier-handed.

Lastly, there are the actresses, and here Bergman's direction of actors seems to solidify, as I find his previous films much more uneven on this score. Here the women, especially the young dancer, show real depth.

Keep in mind that this is not his first film, but still an early work, a seed that will grow into later masterpieces. Then you won't be disappointed, even after the mediocre last minutes of a work that definitely showed promise.
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My brief review of the film
sol-7 October 2005
My least favourite of the twelve Ingmar Bergman films that I have watched so far, this is nevertheless an okay film in itself. I could not bring myself to care for any of the characters, and the plot is rather awkward, to say the least. Interestingly, this Bergman film has the unusual quality of not been written by the Swedish great himself, so Bergman cannot receive much blame for the storyline, which consists of different events with different characters in different time periods, all put together in an unclear fashion. The story is hard to decipher, but what I could work out, I did not find very exciting at that. Even so, this is satisfactory viewing, as the camera follows around the characters very well and Bergman shows some skill for setting up shots, even if not as greatly as in some of his later efforts. And, if not much else, the music choices are fitting. I am not sure whether I would recommend this to other Bergman fans, but I would definitely advise non-fans to proceed with caution.
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8/10
Well written and acted early Bergman
zetes12 August 2007
While Ode to Joy is undoubtedly the gem of Eclipse's Early Bergman box set, Thirst is a close second, at least in my mind. It's kind of a precursor to Scenes of a Marriage, where the story follows a married couple (played by Eva Henning and Birger Malmsten) on a train trip through war-torn Europe. The tumult of the film comes not from the mostly ignored outside world, but from the rocky marriage itself. We also get glimpses of the couple's former lovers. The film is at its best when sticking to the couple. When it strays to the stories of side characters, it's weaker. Since the film is so short (just over 80 minutes), you have to wonder if some of the tangential stories were added as padding. But even the scenes that don't add much are well written, acted and directed. Henning gives a masterful performance, and Bergman was really coming into his own by this point.
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8/10
early Bergman film, very confident in the direction, storyline not as much
MisterWhiplash10 August 2007
It's interesting to see that the late Ingmar Bergman only directed Thirst and didn't write it. Even with its flaws, like the Virgin Spring it seems authentic to the filmmaker's intentions with the characters and the dialog especially. Bergman, through the writer Birgit Tengroth, makes it his own even as he's still trying to get together completely the rhythm of the storytelling. It's strange to see him effortlessly direct within the realm of getting the camera moving around and still going at a realistic tempo (most of the time anyway). It's a story of lovers and lovers gone to pot, with the life of one, the woman in the relationship (Eva Henning as Rut), revealed in flashbacks to a past rotten relationship and other friendship, while the husband (Birger Malmsten as Bertil) has only his ex shown in dire straits after the fall-out.

The latter part was the only scene that didn't quite work for me; despite Bertil's 'dream' later on in the film- which is rather great within the experimentation of his mood expressed violently- we never see much behind his past life with the person. Viola, played by Tenegroth herself, is better than expected in the part as a fragile soul who breaks away from being committed and runs into also old school friend (and the ballet friend of Rut's, at least I think it was) Valborg, though her better, more dramatic work comes later on in the film.

Still, it's a very good drama, with Bergman leading it along in a sort of quagmire for the audience (likely also to be found in Strindberg, one of Bergman's biggest influences) about how people who meet for the reason of comfort end up feeling torn away by that same reason. Rut's relationship with Raoul winds up cruel and a mark on her psyche, though she's also got her own quirks and obnoxious side, yet she'll stay with him, or try to, at the very end. It's quite bleak despite the happy ending however (i.e. the fate of Viola), and the ideal of happiness in this world is always out of reach; discoveries when stuck together, as on a train, only bring about more pondering. In 83 minutes time it can't be nearly as probing about how men distance women, or vice versa, sometimes unintentionally or through vicious deeds or thoughts, as other Bergman films.

But for a short while there are some tense moments, and even a couple of surprising light ones: the scene showing Rut and the dancers having fun on stage with some folk music is one of Bergman's most joyous scenes of any movie he's done.
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7/10
Interesting Early Product
cstotlar-117 June 2012
Bergman is beginning to develop some of his personal traits to be found in the later, more mature film. He hasn't yet learned to unveil the characters quite yet but the interactions are quite interesting. There are several stories going on here and a couple of groups of characters and sometimes the switching back and forth can be confusing. I would certainly agree with one reviewer that "thirst" was used not only metaphorically throughout but quite literally from the first image of an eddy of water during the credits to the very end. The characters are always drinking something or other - water (it's midsummer after all), wine(one of the characters is an alcoholic), even milk. The characters are actually quite self-centered, as in so many of Bergman's earliest films, and not particularly likable. The scene with the "therapist" was especially disturbing and the characters seem more prone to bounce off each other than anything. It's when they start to communicate that the trouble really begins to brew as we've learned from the later films.

Curtis Stotlar
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9/10
Homosexuality in Bergman's films.
jromanbaker13 February 2018
This is a subject rarely brought up, and I am doing so after seeing 'Thirst' for the first time. It is pivotal in understanding themes which recur among his later films. One of these themes in his early films, less so in the later, except for 'Persona' and 'The Hour of the Wolf' is that of homosexual motifs and imagery. It is also there in 'From the Life of the Marionettes' where it is, as I see it, the core reason for the killer's psychology. In these latter films there is no homo-eroticism as such, just undercurrents and thematic reasons. But why are the themes there at all? My intuition on seeing his films, especially 'Thirst' is a horror of same-sex attraction. The lesbian in the film is portrayed as a damned character, to such an extent that she is portrayed as being demonic. Look at the final images of her and you will see a character out of a horror film. I was disgusted at Bergman for this and it prevented me from giving a full 10 to this film, which is otherwise extraordinary. But to return to the eroticism. Has anyone bothered to see how he shows off the bodies of some of his better looking young male actors? The male lead in 'Summer with Monika' is as equally erotically presented as the female lead. Images of the young male lead in 'Thirst', almost writhing half-naked, is comparable to any current gay film. This is here to be read visually and also extends to 'Port of Call'. It is interesting to note that women are not as erotically portrayed, in the standard sense of any film dealing with sexuality, and stay within the mainstream. The young men go beyond the normal presentation of the time. And what of the great 'The Silence' where the male is seen as the erotic force that separates the two women possibly in an emotionally lesbian relationship? Homosexuality is the dark side of sex in Bergman's films. Was it the dark side of him? We will never know, but the question even unanswered can be posed.
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8/10
Bergman's Mature Style is Visibly Coalescing
Richard Chatten25 January 2018
Like 'The Silence', 'Thirst' is a sex drama set in a war zone, while energetically employing the same nonlinear narrative structure Bergman would later bring to triumphant fruition in 'Wild Strawberries' - fluidly shifting throughout in time and place - but put to much less wistful use as a bickering couple squabble and she chain smokes as they pass through a Europe still full of the displaced.

Only his second film with his first great collaborator as cameraman, Gunnar Fischer, Bergman had a great fondness at this time for sliding his camera through walls, and the film is quite intoxicating to watch.
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8/10
Thirst
oOoBarracuda20 September 2017
Thirst: A penetrating look at a marriage on the brink of failure, a woman evaluates her life and each step along the way that led her to her current position. Another brilliantly humanist look at the lives of others, Ingmar Bergman proves his directorial prowess from the beginning of his career.
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8/10
A Thirst That Can't Be Satisfied
Hitchcoc12 March 2015
This is another example of Bergman's submerging of himself into the despair of life and the cockeyed relationships between men and women. The two principle characters are in a relationship made in hell. They even speak of it that way. And yet to not have this relationship is so much worse. She prattles on and on, drinks and smokes, beats on him, won't let him sleep, ignores and steals from him; he is dull, self indulgent, selfish, and full of longing for the past. Each has left a trail of pain. She had her career and her optimism destroyed by a cad who flaunted her in front of his wife. He lived a time with a sick woman who he has not forgotten but has played in a foul way. This is like a train wreck to watch. When he imagines he kills her, I, as the viewer was almost relieved. She was like those harpies in Greek mythology that never leave well enough alone. But love is not easily understood and this is no exception, because being alone is perhaps a greater burden. We can see so much of the later Bergman. Watch at your own risk.
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7/10
A Burgeoning Bergman
Tim Kidner23 November 2010
Bergman's first foray into marriage - a long visited topic for him. Moving on from a previously familiar summer holiday romance scenario that ends in pregnancy termination, the story shows how the now sterile ex ballet dancer faces frustrations with her new husband. The married soldier that was the subject of her affair (I presume he was killed in action), leaves a widow who comes to haunt her, in spirit and in body.

For Bergman, we see his first slightly bleached-out ultra close up and face to face shot. The psychiatrist too makes a first appearance as emotional damage is pursued as a topic. There's also quite a bit of flash-backing and a train journey that runs through most of it which is supposed to symbolise both a passage in time but also the empty, barren vessel she now feels herself to be.

The distinctively intelligent dialogue that so appeals to me is sharp and acerbic, probably for the first time. "I only stay alive so I can keep you as miserable as you've always kept me" is typical of Ingmar's angst. Subtleties of depressive subjects such as suicide are shown by someone leaping to their death into water but all we hear is a plover or some-such seabird changing its call.

A little lumpy in its narrative but for those who love Bergman, the gems are starting to shine and we are reassured by the burgeoning qualities of who we now know to be one of the World's greatest ever directors.
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5/10
Törst
film_riot2 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I think Stefan Höltgen managed to aptly sum up the essence of „Törst" in his review first published in the magazine "Schnitt", "In the end the story lines stay fragmentary. However, the characters and the images are continuing to have an effect." Bergman already dealt with topics that he came back to frequently in his later pictures, but it seems as if Bergman wasn't able in this film (which was his third feature) to find the right form for providing the different stories, written by Birgit Tengroth (screenplay by Herbert Grevenius), with a coherent narrative structure. A lot of sequences left a strong impression with me, for example when Bertil thinks he killed Rut, or when the train crosses a railway station in Germany where they give bread to the people struck by war. And I also found the episode about Viola to be very interesting, although it was a bit confusing at first. The problem with "Törst" is that all those episodes don't form an impressing whole, but rather a puzzle with lost pieces.
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5/10
Thirst will leave you parched.
st-shot24 February 2008
Thirst is an early and forgettable Ingmar Bergman wrought with overheated melodrama, abrasive performances and a subplot that fits like a square peg in a round hole.

Ballet dancer Rut and husband Bertil are on holiday making their way across war torn Europe and back to Sweden. Rut like nearly all Bergman protagonists is experiencing a dark night of the soul and doubt about her artistic abilities. Some explanation is given in flash back; an affair with an arrogant military officer, a confrontation with his wife, a sadistic and predatory lesbian dance instructor and a possible abortion. Very loosely tied in is a subplot of old ballet school chum Viola whose fragile psyche is being exploited by a psychiatrist and another classmate.

Bergman covers a lot of ground in under ninety minutes, very little of it coherently. There's visual commentary about the war in which Sweden was a spectator. Rut feels for the starving refugees at train stops and gives them food while others simply pull down the shades. She has a series of outbursts that become cloying after the first and her husband like the other male characters seems unable to cope or connect due to either their aggressive or passive chauvinism. Evening the playing field lesbians also get worked over with a little Bermanesque gay bashing. There are brief flashes of the visual brilliance that Bergman masterfully employed in his later, greater works especially on the train and with close-ups and reflections. But it is only a brief glimpse of what was to be, making Thirst little more than a glum, hysterical soap opera in a state of confusion.
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5/10
Well made and unpleasant....and pretty typical of Bergman.
MartinHafer13 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I have seen a ton of Ingmar Bergman's films. A few of them were brilliant, a few were terrible but one thing I can say about just about all of them is that they were unpleasant. This is NOT a criticism--just a fact that Bergman chose to make films about unpleasant things--marital infidelity, alienation, mental illness and death--such was the repertoire of Bergman. Many people adore the man's work. As for me, I appreciate his films (especially "Wild Strawberries", "Autumn Sonata" and "The Seventh Seal") but would like to see more films like "The Devil's Eye"--a much more lighthearted and occasionally fun sort of film.

"Thirst" is oppressively dark and unpleasant. And, typical of many of his films, you really don't like anyone. Instead, it's like you are a fly on the wall staring at people who are miserable--with no resolution--just alienation and unhappiness.

The film is about a married couple who really don't like each other--but in an odd way they love each other. Both have had affairs and both seem resigned to living out their lives together--like it or not. I could say more, but frankly don't feel like it--suffice to say they are miserable and ill-matched and desperately in need to therapy.

This is an odd movie because later in the film there is another plot involving alienation and depression. But, oddly, this plot appears out of the blue and never really is fleshed out at all. It really looks like the film originally had two parallel stories and they edited out much of the second one. It should have either been removed completely or developed properly. Either way, it just didn't work and I wanted to a lot more about the weird therapist the lady saw as well as the lesbian angle--but both appear and disappear just as quickly.

This is a film for lovers of Bergman. For others, if you want an unpleasant film, see one of Bergman's better films. Life is too short to watch a stead diet of films like this.
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8/10
Relationship as substitute and metaphor
hasosch15 January 2010
The women-type Rut does exist, and it is so excellently portrayed in this movie that I dare saying: In his later movies, Bergman was hardly ever so honest. However, this is not the basic tenor of this movie, the question is: What is this glue that holds a relationship together? At the end, Bertil says to himself: Yes, I'm in hell with her, but being alone would be much worse. - Hell is only one stadium before self-abolishment, but not itself.

Rut is a drinker, and therefore, Bergman's title "Törst" is at least not exclusively metaphoric. As a very young girl, she had a relationship with a married and much older man. Her pregnancy would possibly be classified as due to rape in certain environments. During abort, she lost her fertility. By her lack of intelligence, she cannot cope with her second husband, a university professor. Thus, she is quite unclear about her function: She cannot be mother and neither partner (partner in what?). During her drinking she floods away her bad memories, but only with the result that they come back with even greater intensity. She is addicted to little signs of love. If he caresses her on the mistaken side of the face, the catastrophe is programmed. She is able to condemn him with an avalanche of the worst vocabulary, and to apologize begging and whining for what she just said two minutes later. Her husband also realizes that she flirts with death: f.ex. he follows her in the corridor of the train and listens when she is in the bathroom.

This early movie is already a typical "Bergman": existentialist down to its "pores", asking a lot of question and letting the answers to the watcher.
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