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Criterion Collection: Virgin Spring [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Three medieval herdsmen seek shelter with a man whose daughter they have raped. Directed by Ingmar Bergman. Oscar for best foreign-language film.
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The Virgin Spring is often thought to be a companion piece for The Seventh Seal and there is similarities between them, however they are also very different as well. Although The Seventh Seal is very sinister, The Virgin Spring is far more dark due to it's realistic story. There are no supernatural themes as there are in The Seventh Seal, making this film in a way, more believable.
Max Von Sydow and Birgitta Valberg are wonderful as the parents, conveying their characters emotions brilliantly. Sven Nykvist's cinematography is exceptional, beautifully shot in stunning black and white and the screenplay is excellent, with Bergman's poetic style.
An unsettling examination on morals, good and evil, this is one of the great masterpieces of Ingmar Bergman and an outstanding contribution to cinema.
Special Features: Star and Director Filmographies, The Bergman Collection Trailer, Stills Gallery and Phillip Strick Film Notes.
Video Aspect Ratio: Original Academy Ratio
Feature Length: 86 mins
I had heard of this, as Wes Craven's infamous Last House on the Left (still banned as far as I'm aware in this country)- which was a slasher/horror remake of this. The story is based on medieval legend, though Little Red Riding Hood will spring to mind.
The story is as good as any Shakespeare in terms of theme and morality- the denoument demonstrates the true nature of man- the pagan sense of revenge and the violence beneath the so-called civilised.
Max Von Sydow and Birgitta Valberg are great here, though it is Sven Nykvist's photography that stays with you after seeing the film. The Virgin Spring is a dark classic that is a treasure and a joy to watch on DVD- hardly something you can level at Dude, Where's My Car or Purely Belter.
And this DVD version is technically superior to videotape version.
As always, Bergman has a genius for lighting and tableaux, maximising the emotional impact without resort to an orchestra or sentimentality from his players. Von Sydow is a giant amongst actors, brimming over with love for his silly-sweet little darling then wracked with grief for her and the violence that her death unleashes. Even moments such as the tumbling rape and the parents' search for the body have a unique theatricality that is harrowing. What might look simple and prosaic on the page comes vividly to life on the screen.
Having said that, The Virgin Spring lacks the iconic imagery that makes The Seventh Seal such an unforgettable viewing experience. This is not altogether surprising, given that this is a much smaller film with a narrower focus; Von Sydow's father is a more uncomplicated character than the Seal's Knight, but notably the Seal's mute girl is here transformed into a Kundry-like pagan half-sister, jealous of her sister's spotless coquetry but then overwhelmed with shame when she is violated by the men.
The Virgin Spring has inspired some grisly horror movies, and it comes as a relief to say that this is no gore flick. Anyone looking for an alternative way-in to the Bergman discography, other than The Seventh Seal, couldn't do better.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is such a powerful film. If you like Bergman then add this to your collection. It still has the power to move and yet remains as fresh as ever. Great DVD. Buy yours now!Published on 19 Feb. 2014 by Claudia Saatchi
this was a tough film to watch because of the rape and consequent murder scenes but it was a well crafted effort by somebody I am becoming more and more aware of as a movie master... Read morePublished on 9 July 2013 by sarah waters fan north east
My favorite of the pre 1960 Bergman films, this has (once again)
amazing photography by Sven Nykvest. Read more
Based on a 13th century ballad with dark and light elements,paganism and Christianity.We are in 14th century Sweden where the pagan gods like Odin still exist with a burgeoning... Read morePublished on 18 July 2009 by technoguy
A virgin spring would be an early spring when the days break bright and clear but the nights are still forbiddingly cold. Read morePublished on 8 Feb. 2008 by Dennis Littrell
In 1960, a financially bankrupt Ingmar Bergman accepted a job to direct a film from a script by cult-novelist Ulla Isaksson. Read morePublished on 30 Jan. 2008 by Jonathan James Romley