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Sweden 1960
Directed by
Ingmar Bergman
89 minutes
Rated M

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

The Virgin Spring

Bergman's rendition of  a medieval ballad about a young virgin, Karin (Birgitta Pettersen), who is raped whilst on her way to church and subsequently avenged by her God-fearing father (Max Von Sydow) is one of his most creepily grim films. Maintaining an archaicized style, the film very effectively conjures up a time when paganism and Christianity co-existed side by side. 

Although it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film that year, today, whilst there are things to admire about it, not least of which is Sven Nykvist's photography, the film, whilst perhaps being faithful to the original source material, feels over-ripe and the ending, which adheres very much to the Christian miraculous tradition, casts an incongruously upbeat, and in terms of execution, even clumsy note (Karin with her self-preoccupied wittering is also rather annoyingly presented), in Bergman's otherwise characteristically dour representation of the battle between Good and Evil.




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