8.1/10
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Winter Light (1963)

Nattvardsgästerna (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama | 5 April 1963 (USA)
A small town priest struggles with his faith.

Director:

Ingmar Bergman

Writer:

Ingmar Bergman
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Ingrid Thulin ... Märta Lundberg
Gunnar Björnstrand ... Tomas Ericsson
Gunnel Lindblom ... Karin Persson
Max von Sydow ... Jonas Persson
Allan Edwall ... Algot Frövik
Kolbjörn Knudsen ... Knut Aronsson
Olof Thunberg ... Fredrik Blom
Elsa Ebbesen ... Magdalena Ledfors
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Storyline

On a cold winter's Sunday, the pastor of a small rural church (Tomas Ericsson) performs service for a tiny congregation; though he is suffering from a cold and a severe crisis of faith. After the service, he attempts to console a fisherman (Jonas Persson) who is tormented by anxiety, but Tomas can only speak about his own troubled relationship with God. A school teacher (Maerta Lundberg) offers Tomas her love as consolation for his loss of faith. But Tomas resists her love as desperately as she offers it to him. This is the second in Bergman's trilogy of films dealing with man's relationship with God. Written by <amanderik@aol.com>

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

Release Date:

5 April 1963 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Winter Light See more »

Filming Locations:

Rättvik, 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

One of the 10 favorite films of Soviet director Andrei Tarkovsky. See more »

Goofs

Märta's near-sightedness is mentioned in the dialogue when she says that without her glasses, Tomas appears fuzzy to her. He even counts her nearsightedness as one of the things he hates about her. But the lenses she wears appear to be of clear glass. See more »

Quotes

Märta Lundberg, Schoolteacher: Poor Tomas. What is it, Tomas?
Tomas Ericsson, Pastor: It wouldn't matter to you.
Märta Lundberg, Schoolteacher: Tell me anyway.
Tomas Ericsson, Pastor: God's silence.
Märta Lundberg, Schoolteacher: God's silence?
Tomas Ericsson, Pastor: God's silence.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Story of Film: An Odyssey: European New Wave (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"God, my God! Why hast thou forsaken me?"
26 April 2005 | by AlexandarSee all my reviews

"I think I have made just one picture that I really like, and that is Winter Light…Everything is exactly as I wanted to have it, in every second of this picture." – Ingmar Bergman

"Winter Light" concentrates around the middle-aged priest named Thomas (extraordinarilly played by Gunnar Björnstrand) of a small Swedish church and his spiritual and emotional struggles during the one winter afternoon.

Tomas founds himself as a non-believer. He realized that he actually became a priest because he was weak, anxious and neurotic and not because of his faith. As a young man, not knowing the REAL world and its TRUE nature, Tomas became a priest. His wife was everything to him, yes. She encouraged his "believes". With her, his believes (or self-deceptions) were stable, steady. After her death, they were shaken (so were his whole life and its purposes) because he encountered the "real world".

After his wife's death he met Marta, schoolteacher – simple and realistic woman (played by brilliant Ingrid Thulin). Marta is in love with him. But he is bored with her and avoids her. Reasons for that are not very clear to the viewer or Tomas himself. He feels isolated and detached from the rest of the world. All the meanings and purposes of his life suddenly disappeared. Whole his life was one big – LIE.

So, why is he avoiding Marta? She is the real representation of the ''real world'' since being an atheist. Marta is the symbol of his failure, she ''reminds'' him that he dedicated whole his life to – nothing.

This is not, however, a religious film. It's a lot more exploring the real human nature and its possible ''faults''. It raises some universal issues like: ''Am I doing good things because I am a good person (because I have a good character) or because I am afraid of the consequences (because I am weak, fearful)''?

"Winter Light" is also masterfully crafted movie with formal elements absolutely supporting (and adding to) the issues of the script. It is a very cold movie with no music (intentionally). Sven Nykvist, Bergman's cinematographer did excellent job with his contrasted black and white photography, focuses and mise-en-scene conjuring up the emotional isolation and distances between the characters.


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