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
A considerable amount of the scenes had to be re-shot due to technical problems with sound and film stock. See more »
When Tomas leaves the church to go to the scene of the suicide there is a lot of snow on his car and on the ground. But, when he arrives at the scene, the car is clean and there is no sign of snow on the ground. See more »
The closest thing to a perfect film I've ever seen
It's a real shame that you are unlikely to find this movie in your local video rental store. It's relentlessly concentrated, uncompromising and beautiful. It's paced slowly at the beginning, drawing the viewer in, but repays the effort you put in (and it's pretty short).
The story focuses on a disillusioned priest in a remote village who is unable to accept the love offered him by Marta, his friend, and unable to offer the conviction of his faith to save a fisherman from suicide. There are several hidden references to the crucifixion: the time covered in the movie (noon to 3 pm) is the same as the time Jesus spent on the cross; the location of Marta's skin disease corresponds to the "stigmata" or wounds from the nails.
I can't recommend this film strongly enough. Every time I see it I am stunned by the beauty and meaning in every single frame.
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