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The Virgin Spring (1960)

Jungfrukällan (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 14 November 1960 (USA)
An innocent yet pampered young virgin and her family's pregnant and jealous servant set out to deliver candles to church, but only one returns from events that transpire in the woods along the way.

Director:

Ingmar Bergman

Writer:

Ulla Isaksson
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Won 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Max von Sydow ... Töre
Birgitta Valberg ... Märeta
Gunnel Lindblom ... Ingeri
Birgitta Pettersson ... Karin
Axel Düberg ... Thin Herdsman
Tor Isedal ... Mute Herdsman
Allan Edwall ... Beggar
Ove Porath Ove Porath ... Boy
Axel Slangus Axel Slangus ... Bridge Keeper
Gudrun Brost ... Frida
Oscar Ljung ... Simon
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tor Borong Tor Borong ... Farm-hand
Leif Forstenberg Leif Forstenberg ... Farm-hand
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Storyline

Set in beautiful 14th century Sweden, it is the sombre, powerful fable of wealthy land-owning parents whose daughter, a young virgin, is brutally raped and murdered by goat herders after her half sister has invoked a pagan curse. By a bizarre twist of fate, the murderers ask for food and shelter from the dead girl's parents, who, discovering the truth about their erstwhile lodgers, exact a chilling revenge. Written by L.H. Wong <as9401k56@ntuvax.ntu.ac.sg>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Sweden

Language:

Swedish | German

Release Date:

14 November 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Virgin Spring See more »

Filming Locations:

Dalarnas län, Sweden See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Received the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film 1960. See more »

Goofs

If you look closely when the boy is placing dirt on Karin's body, you can see her torso move as the actress breathes (even though she was supposed to be dead). See more »

Quotes

Ingeri: What is your name?
Bridge Keeper: These days, I don't have a name.
[laughs menacingly]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Goat Horn (1971) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Faith and Human Nature
8 December 2009 | by jzappaSee all my reviews

The Virgin Spring is a film so graceful, subtle and omniscient that when we experience powerfully emotional moments, we haven't even expected them, and when we have, it's already hit us. With every detail of every department, the result is utter simplicity, utter docility, no fluctuation in the face of whatever brutality or emotional quakes, making them all that much more profoundly moving. The story reveals and illustrates the characters up until the fatal flaw causes the end of the movie to be inevitable, but we never saw that particular element that way, because everything is utterly natural.

Its pitch-perfect genuine bloom is the effect of the film being pared down to its barest intentions. And these are not only fundamental questions, but fundamental questions in a time and place in history where needs and desires were purely fundamental. The characters, existing in medieval Sweden, could have no concept of how complicated human beings' intentions could be as they are in modern times. It begins with a prosperous Christian whose daughter, Karin played by Birgitta Pattersson, is appointed to bring candles to the church. This is a big deal around here. Karin is accompanied by her pregnant foster sister, Ingeri played by Gunnel Lindblom, who secretly worships a Norse pagan God. What conflict! What happens from there, I will not say. But anywhere you may read about this film you will see that it was the basis for Wes Craven's exploitation flick The Last House on the Left, but in that exploitation of a genuine bloom of grace, the ensuing turning points in the plot achieve the exact opposite effect in every way I've explained. When you see The Virgin Spring, you will be presented with people who search for the same answers and consolations most of us still seek today. Even if a viewer would sooner find themselves watching Craven's film than anything by Ingmar Bergman, once they would get around to The Virgin Spring, they'd find themselves subjected to an unexpected, and wholly memorable, experience more rare than the later film.

Max Von Sydow's performance is truly unforgettable in every sense of the word, burning every line of his ultimate soliloquy into you with an impact lasting longer than the movie or the day you see it. He is a giant, unabashedly masculine yet incapable of artifice. Even so, he stands out no more than any other actor, all of whom beautifully share the screen with one another, which emboldens the impact of where his character goes.

Ulla Isakkson's story yields a multitude of moral examinations in our minds. There are certain peculiar characters who have no human sympathy and are unashamed of a laundry list of barbarities. Bergman shows the Christian Orthodox family spending every waking moment preoccupied with purity, altruism and decency in the eyes of the god they passionately look to with faith that the world they live in is inherently good and just. Their concept of evil is the notion of a Pagan god. How are they to act when crossing paths with the former set of characters?


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