THE SILENCE
TYSTNADEN
1963, Janus Films, 95 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

Two sisters - the sickly, intellectual Ester (Ingrid Thulin) and the sensual, pragmatic Anna (Gunnel Lindblom) - travel by train with Anna’s young son Johan (Jorgen Lindstrom) to a foreign country seemingly on the brink of war. Attempting to cope with their alien surroundings, the sisters resort to their personal vices while vying for Johan’s affection, and in so doing sabotage any hope for a future together. Regarded as one of the most sexually provocative films of its day, this drama offers a brilliant, disturbing vision of emotional isolation in a suffocating spiritual void.


THIRST
TÖRST
1949, Janus Films, 84 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

Made right after the dissolution of Bergman’s second marriage, this is an often dazzling tirade against the institution of matrimony. The principal couple, Bertil (Birger Malmsten) and Ruth (Eva Henning), travel home by train to Sweden from Switzerland, at each other’s throats the whole way. Meanwhile, in Stockholm, Bertil’s former lover, Viola (Birgit Tengroth, who also wrote the stories on which the film is based), tries to evade the predatory advances of her psychiatrist, and then of a ballet dancer who was once a friend of Ruth’s. This dark and multilayered drama, sustained by biting dialogue, reveals Bergman’s profound understanding of the female psyche.


SUMMER INTERLUDE
SOMMARLEK
1951, Janus Films, 96 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

A film that the director considered a creative turning point, this reverie about life and death unites Bergman’s love of theater and cinema, and touches on many of the themes that would define the rest of his legendary career - isolation, performance and the inescapability of the past. In one of the director’s great early female roles, Maj-Britt Nilsson beguiles as an accomplished ballet dancer haunted by her tragic youthful affair with a shy, handsome student (Birger Malmsten). Her memories of the sunny, rocky shores of Stockholm’s outer archipelago mingle with scenes from her gloomy present, most of them set in the dark backstage environs of the theater where she works.


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