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Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Silence (1963) d. Ingmar Bergman

Bergman's The Silence (1963) D. Ingmar Bergman is a weird trip.


The Silence (1963)
d. Ingmar Bergman
Criterion Collection #211
Part of A Film Trilogy by Ingmar Bergman (four discs) Criterion Collection #208

  This movie is part of Bergman's trilogy which also includes Through A Glass Darkly(1961) and Winter Light.  All three films are about faith and loss of faith.  There is a clear connection between these three films and the movies of Dutch filmmaker Carl Th. Dreyer.  The Silence is a real wierd trip, maybe the most "surreal" of all of Bergman's films and almost Felliniesque or Lynchian (anachronism intended) in its weirdness.

 First, there is the kafka-esque setting: An unnamed central European city.  The film is introduced by a lengthy scene of the three main characters: two sisters and the young son of one of them.  They are forced to stop at a stately hotel because one of the sisters is sick, and the other sister- the mother of young Johann- ends up engaging in what can only be described as a sexual escapade.  The sexuality is pretty shocking: there is a scene of female masturbation, public sex in a theatre and naked wrestling.   Reading up, I read a quote from Woody Allen where he said that The 
Silence only makes sense if you understand the two sisters as two sides of the same person.

Other than the shocking sex moments, it is a long, slow slog- a clear minor classic in the Bergman canon- butttttt the weirdness level makes The Silence maybe worth a watchy poo.

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