Through A Glass Darkly [DVD] 
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
"Through a Glass Darkly" inaugurated in a new phase in Bergman's development. In this and subsequent works, the director would examine human nature and experience without compromise, forgoing the ornamentation of earlier works in favour of a much barer aesthetic corresponding to this desire strip the reality of human existence of the pretenses, embellishments and illusions that have for so long obscured our vision.
One of the most impressive things about the film is its superlative physical beauty. The environment functions as an objective correlative to the inner world of Karin, the misery and fear she feels. The world takes on an extremely sinister, almost psychedelic, complexion in this film, especially in the shots in the room with the arabesque wallpaper, where Bergman uses the wallpaper to brilliant effect in creating what is perhaps the finest visualization of what is called "psychotic" experience in all cinema, though nature itself in this film looks no less nefarious.
If any perspective asserts itself in this film, it is that of the "schizophrenic" Karin, though as the incongruous, facile ending shows, this was very much a film born of conflicted psyche, simultaneously drawn to and repelled by Karin's outlook. It is not she who sees things through a glass darkly, but those around her.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This "chamber film" by Ingmar Bergman (whose name is a quote in the Christian bible) has just four characters: a writer (Gunnar Bjornstrand), his schizophrenic daughter... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Andres C. Salama
Through A Glass Darkly is an incredible film by one of the greatest of all filmmakers, Ingmar Bergman; along with his other masterpieces like The Seventh Seal, Cries And Whispers,... Read morePublished on 2 Jun. 2014 by Ron Wright
I watched the streamed version of this today prompted from studying the Scandinavian Film and TV course on Coursera. Read morePublished on 28 Feb. 2014 by PWJ
Not just one of Bergman's finest works, but one of the greatest films EVER.
Harriet Andersson's haunting performance is utterly breathtaking. Read more
Bergman is still dealing with some of the same big issues (Is there a
god?, What's the meaning of art?, etc.) but now on a much more human
level. Read more
Play this for anyone wedded to that nasty Ricky Gervais gag about awards raining down on anyone playing a mental. Read morePublished on 12 Jun. 2011 by Philoctetes
To swedish wievers the language in Bergman's movies sound very un-natural and like in a theater. This is the case with 'Through a Glass Darkly' (I can't really see the reason... Read morePublished on 23 Dec. 2009 by MarkusG