Category Archives: Sweden

#238 Persona

(1966, Ingmar Bergman)

“You should go on with this part until it is played out, until it loses interest for you”

Oh, Ingmar Bergman. You crazy Swede, with your vague films about things with incomprehensible images and people looking moody. What can I possibly say about your films without sounding like a philistine who doesn’t get TRUE ART? Well, guess we’ll find out as I take a look at Persona, which sadly doesn’t feature any disco ninja frogs or tomboyish schoolgirls obsessed with steak.

Persona primarily features two cast members, and barely anybody else. Alma (Bibi Andersson) is a mental health nurse who is instructed to watch over Elisabet Volger (Liv Ullman), an actress who one day just stopped talking. During a stay at a holiday cottage to allow Elisabet to recover, Alma struggles to cope and talks constantly to counter Elisabet’s silence. During the course of the film, their roles often end up reversed, with Alma becoming the distraught mental patient seeking answers from another.

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#228 Through A Glass Darkly

Såsom i en spegel
(1961, Ingmar Bergman)

“It’s so horrible to see your own confusion and understand it”

We’ve looked at a few films in the past that were based on the works of influential sci-fi writer Phillip K. Dick, and it’s time to look at another film based on his works. Through A Glass Darkly is about an undercover cop trying to chase down a drug dealer responsible for spreading a powerful new drug named Substance D, but it becomes apparent that they are the same person and…what do you mean, I have the wrong film?

Oh wait, that’s A Scanner Darkly, which has nothing to do with this film beyond people losing their minds.

Through A Glass Darkly is actually an Ingmar Bergman film set during a 24-hour period, where a young woman named Karin (Harriet Andersson) has recently returned from a stay at a mental institute for schizophrenia, and is on holiday with her husband, Martin (Max Von Sydow), her father, David (Gunnar Björnstrand), and her brother, Minus (Lars Passgård). Over the course of the day, Karin’s disorder escalates while the men all come to terms with their own issues.

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#192 Shame

Skammen
(1968, Ingmar Bergman)

”How do you think someone who dreams about us would feel when he wakes up – shame?”

Ingmar Bergman is well-known as the biggest name in classic Swedish cinema, most known for The Seventh Seal due to how much its famous chess-playing Grim Reaper scene has been parodied over the years. Because of this, he was bound to turn up on this blog. We look at Shame, a speculative fiction about war and strained relationships.

Eva (Liv Ullmann) and Jan (Max von Sydow) are a couple living in a small house on an isolated island, in the midst of a civil war that’s rampaging through Sweden in the near-future. They live off the land, running a small farm and trying to live a normal life despite the growing concerns the war may come to them. As the film progresses, we witness them struggle to hold their relationship together and remain apolitical in an increasingly hostile environment.

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#51 Let The Right One In

(Låt den rätte komma in)
(2008, Tomas Alfredson)

“I’ve been twelve for a long time”

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