Two estranged sisters, Ester and Anna, and Anna's 10-year-old son travel to the Central European country on the verge of war. Ester becomes seriously ill and the three of them move into a hotel in a small town called Timoka.
In the midst of a civil war, former violinists Jan and Eva Rosenberg, who have a tempestuous marriage, run a farm on a rural island. In spite of their best efforts to escape their homeland, the war impinges on every aspect of their lives.
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 desperate husband ('Max von Sydow'). They are joined by Karin's father ('Gunnar Björnstrand'), who is a world-traveling author that is estranged to his children. The film depicts how Karin's grip on reality slowly slips away and how the bonds between the family members are changing in light of this fact.Written by
A character study set on a secluded island off the coast of Sweden, `Through A Glass, Darkly' is Ingmar Bergman's pensive chronicle of a young woman's descent into the maelstrom of schizophrenia. The story centers on Karin (Harriet Andersson), who has reached a pivotal juncture in her life; having just been released from a mental hospital, she must now face the uncertainties inherent in the nature of her illness. It is a crucial period in her life; she occupies a middle ground between two worlds, and the question now is, will she ultimately emerge in the light, or succumb to the darkness of the voices that beckon her from within. Through Bergman's eyes we observe the effects of her situation on the three people closest to her, her husband, Martin (Max von Sydow), her father, David (Gunnar Bjornstrand) and her brother, Minus (Lars Passgard). The movie explores their relationships to Karin (and to one another), and how differently each one them strives to cope with and understand her elusive affliction. An absorbing, evocative and sometimes tense drama, the film is impeccably delivered by Bergman, and the performances are all exemplary, especially Harriet Andersson, who brings the tortured soul of Karin to life with nuance and a depth and grasp of the character that is remarkable. Von Sydow is also perfect as the troubled Martin, and aptly conveys the quandary of his situation, which he approaches with a reserved, committed gentleness. Bjornstrand maintains a stoic presence throughout as the novelist/father attempting to resolve an inner conflict borne of guilt and doubtful motives, and Passgard gives a notable performance, as well; his angst and confusion are deeply felt and well played. The first of Bergman's 'Faith' trilogy (followed by `Winter Light' and `The Silence'), `Through A Glass, Darkly' is one of his finest works, an intricate exploration of the fragility of the human psyche and the complexities of life. An Oscar winner for Best Foreign Film of 1961, it firmly establishes Bergman as one of Cinema's greatest directors. It is an emotional and engrossing film that should not be missed. I rate this one 10/10.
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