Martin, , a respected doctor, his wife Karin, Karin's seventeen year old brother Minus, and widowed father David of Karin and Minus' have convened at the family's summer home on an island off the coast of Sweden to celebrate David's return from the Swiss Alps, where he was substantially completing his latest novel. The family has long lived a fantasy of they being a loving one, David's extended absences which are the cause of many of the family's problems. Without that parental guidance, Minus is at a confused and vulnerable stage of his life where he is a bundle of repressed emotions, most specifically concerning not feeling loved by his father and concerning the opposite sex. He is attracted to females as a collective but does not know how to handle blatant female sexuality, especially if it is directed his way. A month earlier Karin was released from a mental institution. Her doctor has told Martin that the likelihood that she will fully recover from her illness is low, her ...Written by
"For now we see through a glass, darkly"- Bible, 1 Corinthians xiii. 12.
Well, we don't see darkly through a glass, and Bergman explains in his "Introductions" that during the ancient times, there were no glass, the mirrors were made of metal, bronze, for instance and while looking through the metal mirror, the face and the background appear darker than in reality. Does it mean that when we look inside ourselves like in the mirror, we appear darker and more sinister than we are? Or the other way around?
"Through a Glass Darkly" is a typically great Bergman's film - four people arrive to an isolated island to spend a few days together, a young woman, her husband, father, and brother. They seem to love one another and are perfectly happy and comfortable in the beginning. It does not last long - not in the Bergman's world. Harriet Anderson was amazing as Karin, a mentally sick young woman, who was just released from the hospital but I believe three other actors playing Father (Gunnar Bjornstrand), Husband (Max von Sydow), and Brother (Lars Passgård) were as good as she was. The Father was especially interesting - he was a reason Karin became ill on the first place and his diary sent her to the total mental breakdown. As with "Persona" and "Autumn Sonata", Bergman is asking again how far is an Artist willing to go for his Art? Here, Father, the writer wants to be a cool and remote observer of his daughter's mental tragedy as a study for his future work. There is a hope, though, in the end. Not for Karin - it is too late for her - but for her confused young brother who is also fighting for his sanity and desperately needs his father's love and understanding. His last words - "Daddy talked to me" - give this bleak and tragic story the hope that his life could be different. Or maybe not...
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