- Actors: Stig Jarrell, Alf Kjellin, Mai Zetterling, Olof Winnerstrand, Gosta Bjorne
- Directors: Alf Sjoberg
- Producers: Harald Molander, Victor Sjostrom
- Format: PAL
- Language: Swedish
- Subtitles: English
- Region: All Regions
- Number of discs: 1
- Classification: 15
- Studio: Tartan
- DVD Release Date: 6 Dec. 2004
- Run Time: 101 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B0006A9780
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 113,194 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
Torment  [DVD]
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Marking Ingmar Bergman's debut as screenwriter and directed by Alf Sjöberg, this expressionistic crime of passion revolves around a young student, Jan-Erik (Alf Kjellin), his sadistic Latin teacher, nicknamed 'Caligula' (Stig Järrel), and a newsagent assistant-cum-prostitute, Bertha (Mai Zetterling). When Jan-Erik assists the drunken Bertha, he becomes her lover. Bertha is, however, terrified of another man, whom it becomes clear is terrorising her. When Jan-Erik finds Bertha dead, he accuses Caligula of being responsible. The themes of creaticity, mentors and oppressive authority, which would become Bergman's trademarks, are staked out in this semi-autobiographical work.
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Its a shame that this work has been so over-publicized. Ostensibly, it couldn't be a more auspicious project: a collaboration of two of Sweden's greatest film-makers (we can lament the fact that Sjoberg's fame has so faded over time, for he really was a talented film-maker). Unfortunately, it can be written off as an opportunity missed. The film was being made for Svenski Film's anniversary and seems to have been somewhat hastily, maybe dispassionately, put together. This isn't Sjoberg's best work by a long shot, even for its few gem moments. The writing is harmlessly mediocre; an angst-ridden story about a tortured student intellectual. Clearly its a film Bergman must regret, for the brilliance of his later writing is little evident. It has a flavor of Bergman, but the most immature of all of his writing.
The plot centers around a young woman who keeps two lovers: one, the chief protagonist, a bright young student full of youthful idealism: the other one of his instructors, whom we only know as Caligula -- a lonely old man who lashes out and torments every human who he comes in contact with. Eventually, and predictably, the two come into conflict.
Torment is not a bad film by any measure, but one can't help but be disappointed by it. It should be of some interest to both Sjoberg and Bergman fans. Mild recommendation.