Bergman, Through a Glass Darkly (1961)

Through a Glass Darkly – trailer

Watched this phenomenal film again last night, and was bowled over by how closely it speaks to issues with mental illness, general dysfunction and religion that haunt my family life in particular, and my US white ethnic upbringing in general.

That said, none of the boating or genius-related issues are that familiar. What matters is the depth of the performances, the Sven Lundquist cinematography, and, frankly, Bergman’s brain, which was capable, in 1961, of raising heavier questions about le Dieu than any French existentialist — and THAT’s damning him with faint praise.

Seeing this film, and the entire Religious trilogy, was a high point in my life. That’s why I’m so shocked to have screened this again, last night, only to find the blatant resonance it has with my own autobiography. When I saw it at 22, I guess, I still had thicker blinders on…

Oh, about the trailer: I’m sympathetic to the plight of people having to sell this film to US audiences, but, c’mon, was this voiceover narrative really intended to get people on board? Or was it some undergrad English major’s synopsis, pasted on by his in-law at the distribution company?


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