1958, Janus Films, 101 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

This engaging, brilliantly conceived tale of deceit from one of cinema’s premier illusionists stars Max von Sydow as Dr. Vogler, a 19th-century traveling mesmerist and peddler of potions, whose magic is put to the test in Stockholm by the cruel, eminently rational royal medical adviser Dr. Vergérus. The result is a diabolically clever battle of wits that’s both frightening and funny, shot in rich, gorgeously gothic black-and-white.

1957, Janus Films, 91 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

Bergman at his finest: An aging professor (played to perfection by Victor Sjostrom, himself a great director of the silent era) reflects on the bitter dregs of his life as he approaches his final day of reckoning. To this day few filmmakers have gazed as deeply into the human heart as Bergman did here. Co-starring the sublime Ingrid Thulin as Sjostrom’s disillusioned daughter-in-law and Gunnar Björnstrand as his bitter son. With Bibi Andersson. In Swedish with English subtitles.

1961, Janus Films, 89 min, Sweden, Dir: Ingmar Bergman

Winner of the 1962 Academy Award for Best Foreign-Language Film and featuring an astonishing lead performance by Harriet Andersson, Bergman’s film presents an unflinching vision of a family’s near disintegration. While vacationing on a remote island retreat, a family’s already fragile ties are tested when daughter Karin (Andersson) discovers her father has been using her schizophrenia for his own literary means. As she drifts in and out of lucidity, Karin’s father (Gunnar Björnstrand), husband (Max von Sydow) and younger brother (Lars Passgård) are unable to prevent her harrowing descent into the abyss of mental illness. In Swedish with English subtitles.

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