i started watching films by ingmar bergman back in college with an interest that i think was probably only because of the pseudo-intellectual-cool factor. he is THE director to watch for any young college student a notion that they really appreciate movie-making, is he not? but now that i've seen a handful, and a couple over again (years later), i think i'm beginning to understand just how powerful they are. but as always, they hurt. they are stark, they are excruciating- difficult to watch- possibly because of the bleak but honest spiritual content, possibly because i know their visual beauty is something totally lost and forgotten in movies these days. (maybe simply because they were made in a time period with clothing styles and mannerisms that will never exist again.)
amy and i watched Through A Glass Darkly together last night, and this one sunk in. bergman was the son of a pastor, had a lot of spiritual baggage, and it's obvious, of course. it's about a girl with a schizophrenic disorder, a father who sacrificies his family's well being for the success of his writing career, and a protestant God who seems to be missing. one of the most striking moments to me was a scene in which the main character, having "seen God", describes Him as a horrible stone-faced spider coming through a doorwary and trying to forcibly "enter" her. the movie ends on a slight upswing though, subtly stating that God is somehow love, and where there is love there is God, so God is all around us- but remains largely unresolved and realistic. The idea that our Love for others is God's protection of them is ummm...amazing.
The music in TAGD was very minimal, and mostly cello suites by Bach- meant to give a warm, but isolated feel (according to the movie's commentary). Bergman modeled his use of small casts during this period of his filmmaking after the chamber quartets he had become interested in at the time. They were meant to play off of one another as instruments would in smaller musical ensembles. I loved this feel, and might be why i prefer his later, simpler movies to ones like the Seventh Seal, etc. it's no wonder my music composition prof in college swore that bergman's films had changed his life when they first came out.
"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love." - 1 Cor 13:12-13