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Paul Jensen

THE VIRGIN SPRING (1999) 5 stars

A timeless, grim, hopeful and archetypal story with a dark turn of events. At first glance it appears to be one of Bergman's more overtly religious films. However, upon closer inspection it deals more directly with guilt and shame. Max Von Sydow is amazing in his portrayal of a father trying to control his anger. Nykvist's cinematography is shimmering in its simplistic beauty. The performances are at times theatrical but always convincing. Especially considering when it was made, it's astonishing how unflinching the film is. (It was later remade into Last House on the Left.) Another stroke of genius was Bergman's choice to have the majority of the film done in silence. Screenwriters take note! In the end, it remains one of the most emotionally moving and deceivingly simple Bergman films out there.


Genre: Foreign
Director: Ingmar Bergman