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Through A Glass Darkly [DVD] [1961]

Harriet Andersson , Gunnar Björnstrand , Ingmar Bergman    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Actors: Harriet Andersson, Gunnar Björnstrand, Max von Sydow, Lars Passgård
  • Directors: Ingmar Bergman
  • Writers: Ingmar Bergman
  • Producers: Allan Ekelund
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Swedish
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Tartan
  • DVD Release Date: 19 Nov 2001
  • Run Time: 91 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005RZQK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,254 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Ingmar Bergman's Oscar-winning first part of a trilogy (which was followed in 1963 by 'Winter Light' and then 'The Silence'), traces a schizophrenic young woman's (Harriet Andersson) descent into madness as she spends a holiday on a remote holiday island with her father, brother and husband. Her husband is a doctor but feels helpless, her father seems to watch her disease with fascination and keeps a journal of her condition, whilst she seduces 17-year-old brother when she discovers he is a virgin

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning and powerful 17 April 2006
One of Bergman's darkest films, and the first of a thematic trilogy exploring the question of the existence of God, Through A Glass Darkly depicts a young woman's descent into madness. The film is set at an isolated house on the coast and focuses on four characters: David, a writer, his adult children Karin and Minus, and his friend Martin - who is married to Karin. The idyll of the opening is quickly shattered as the tensions in their relationships and the extent of Karin's mental illness become more and more apparent. Bergman was not entirely happy with this film, and it has its imperfections, but it is more than redeemed by the performance of Harriet Andersson as Karin, which is the most stunning and powerful piece of acting I have ever seen on film.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a haunting study of religious obsession 29 Nov 2001
By A Customer
In this film a schizophrenic girl of deep religious conviction sinks into madness while her father, brother and husband look helplessly on. One of the film's great qualities is its lack of sentimentality in dealing with such a difficult subject, and its arresting and provocative imagery. Although less accessible than some of Bergman's other films, it includes one of the best performances in any of his works - that of Harriet Anderson. She is haunting and luminescent in the lead and makes you forgive any narrative shortcomings. Austerely shot by Sven Nykvist, a regular Bergman-collaborator, its images and intelligence pack a powerful punch
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a first date movie 2 Jan 2006
This is a difficult film which explores interesting but uncomfortable themes. The film depicts a young woman losing touch with reality and those around her through the development of a mental illness. Bergman subverts traditional character study by asking at what point our relationships with family and friends dissolve. It appears the director tried to add a more positive ending by the inclusion of the epilogue; however this does not affect the overall mood. Some excellent performances, a remote and desolate location, and grainy black and white cinematography only serve to reinforce the almost crushing emotional effect of the film.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bergman's first step into peak modernism 24 Oct 2001
Format:VHS Tape
I think Bergman's very best period of work actually begins with 'Through a Glass Darkly'. Bergman is here honing his cinema to a point at which humanism starts to break down, and the spaces between people, and their view of themselves and reality, are undermined to an extent many people may not wish to persue in a film. Yet the work hits at difficults truths that are delivered in a form that can be described as difficultly beautiful.
Deep-focus images shot with a still camera offer endless shades of grey, with a light you can almost touch and smell. Dawn skies, rocky shorline, a pre-industrial house and four humans (who we first see like organisms emerging out of a primordial sea) is all that fills the screen. Here the 'chamber' quality of the setting allows Bergman to leave the expressionist mosaic style of direction he uses in 'The Seventh Seal' for a severe kind of image, rooted to the material world, yet open to invocations of metaphysical resonance.
Harriet Andersson plays a woman whose engagement with the world is beautiful in its heterogeneity. But her subjective focus is insufficient to master a cold world's requirements. She fails to sustain the neccessary control over her feelings, and attempts to stave off madness turn our badly (her religious hope turns to horror in the remarkable penultimate scene in the attic).
Meanwhile, this woman who might have been a microcosmic humanity's best hope, compares starkly to the well-meaning men, who seem to have adapted to a cold reality all too well. Her husband is as sterile as the needle he sticks in her arm to restore a 'normal' subjectivity (despite his verbal declarations of love), and her father has shown terrible signs of a very veritginous existential state.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I can't live in this new world." 23 Oct 2012
By Rooksby
Not just one of Bergman's finest works, but one of the greatest films EVER.

Harriet Andersson's haunting performance is utterly breathtaking.

A challenging, timeless masterpiece.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Philoctetes TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Play this for anyone wedded to that nasty Ricky Gervais gag about awards raining down on anyone playing a mental. Harriet Andersson is the best thing in this, although I wouldn't choose to follow the director in his notes where he claimed the other actors (and himself) all fell short of what was needed.

A family of four (father, son, daughter, son-in-law) are seen on a happy vacation which swiftly fractures as the daughter's mental instability dominates the attention of the woeful males, none of whom can help her despite their contrasting attempts to offer support. Her visions and mania offer the opportunity for an exploration of faith and an attempt to comprehend the nature of God. How does one live alongside mental illness (schizophrenia apparently)? This serious subject is awarded the most beautiful b/w cinematography, sensitive performances, and some hope at the end with the father/son reconciliation. There is a warmth and intimacy to balance the guilt and despair.

I'd say this is a fascinating study from the great b/w days of Bergman, way easier to watch than the nightmarish scream-fest Cries & Whispers (also starring Andersson). Interesting notes provided by Philip Strick and also Ingmar Bergman, scene-access and so forth.

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