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aka - Nattvardsgasterna
Sweden 1963
Directed by
Ingmar Bergman
81 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
4 stars

Winter Light

The second in Bergman's "Faith" trilogy, book-ended by Through A Glass Darkly and The Silence and known in Swedish by the more revealing title of The Communicants, this is a witheringly bleak portrait of three hours in the life of a parson (Gunnar Björnstrand) undergoing a crisis of faith as he finishes one service and prepares for the next.

Bergman regulars, Ingrid Thulin and Max von Sydow provide the main challenges to his crumbling self-image, the former demanding human love, the latter an answer to the endemic injustice of life in the face of "God's silence", whilst smaller characters represent the failure of religious ritual to present its practitioners with anything more than a mechanical routine to binds their daily suffering together.

Sven Nykvist 's photography, as ever, resonates with the starkness of Bergman's story set in the dour landscape of Northern Sweden whilst the performances by the main three protagonists are flawless.




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