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.
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
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 »
Tomas Ericsson, Pastor:
I feel humiliated by the gossip. No one used to pay much attention to the pastor. He was simply a fixture, though no one knew exactly what he was good for. Then the rumors began about you and me. All that tittle-tattle.
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This is a captivating film, one of Bergman's most inward-looking and cold pieces.
The performances are terrific. Gunnar Bjornstrand is at his excellent best, Max von Syndow is predictably good. I would single out the women performers for particular praise in this film: Ingrid Thulin is outstanding as the spinster who cannot break the ice that encloses Bjornstrand's pastor. Gunnel Lindblom plays a small but superb part as the desperate wife of the suicidal von Syndow.
This is not plot and action stuff, nor is it any good for you if seeing depression in others makes you depressed. It is a microscope study of desperation and depression. It is a small canvas film my personal preference is for Bergman's larger canvas work such as The Seventh Seal and especially Wild Strawberries. Of his darker, psychological work, again I would express a preference for Persona and also Through a Glass Darkly. But I'm comparing greatness with greatness if you like Bergman's work this one's a must see.
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