Monday, November 11, 2013

404. Nattvardsgasterna

Winter Light
Directed by Ingmar Bergman

The entire northern United States (which unfortunately includes me) is suffering from a cold that possesses an unrelenting determination that could rival the Terminator's.  And now that it is Monday I get the added guilt that comes with staying home on a weekday.  Well, at least I get to watch a good movie, albeit one with a complete nightmare of a name.  Wait, it's a Bergman film? Oh crap.

Bergman is like the blowhard at that party who just won't shut up about religion and is completely indifferent to the fact that it is not his provocativeness that is making everyone around him uncomfortable, but the dullness of his diatribe.  So just tack on my Bergman is Boring mantra to everything I say from now on.

This is the story of a priest who loses his faith, which in turn, causes others to lose their faith.  Except in the case of Marta, who is already an atheist and is portrayed as a complete loon who won't get the hint that the priest is not interested.  I am no expert on men, but I am pretty sure if you are trying to attract one, you don't keep talking about the rash you have.  But hey, that is just my two cents.

I think your interpretation of this film is going to depend heavily on your own religious beliefs.  If you are Christian, and I do believe Bergman was, you are presumably going to feel sorry for this man that he longer has a god.  I am an atheist, but I can understand that a priest losing his religion would no doubt be tragic; after all, realizing that you have dedicated your life to something you no longer believe in would no doubt be terrible.  Most of the time, the movie allows you to form your own conclusions.  However, having someone blow their brains out because they no longer believe there is a god is a bit of a push toward the more conservative side of things.

The agonizingly long takes, the sentimental religious themes, and the fact that no one cracks a smile during the entire movie: it all so very Bergman.  And I am so very tired of it.

RATING: *----

Interesting Facts:

Ingmar Bergman's wife called the film "a dreary masterpiece."

Second film in Bergman's trilogy on religion.



  1. Ah, Amanda, we had to, at some time, hit something to disagree about.

    I do, at times, love a good wallow in northern European misery.. and there is no-one better than Mr. B for that.

    But wait, no, I don't really agree with that. I don't find Bergman movies depressing, and I don't watch them for that.

    Also, I certainly do not always understand what is going on.. quite frequently in fact, but I love the atmosphere of quiet introspection and thoughtfulness.
    And when it comes to 'depressing'..well I'm a lot more depressed (by human nature) after - say- one of the Jerry Lewis movies in this book than ever by a Bergman.
    I will certainly give you that, at times he 'wallows', and there can be too much introspection - agonising about things- if you will. But Bergman at least wants us to think about things - and other people. Some brainless so called comedy about a bunch of obnoxious teen lads trying to get a woman to get her **** out and going Phhhhawww, is much more depressing.
    (Why?. because a film like that will make lots of money, and implant it's ideas into far more heads than one like this. THAT is depressing)

    (I feel I don't know you well enough yet to use a word like tits in a message to you, so I won't, lest I make you feel uncomfortable)


  2. Hey Ray, you can say whatever you want on my blog; believe me, I have written worse on here. You might actually be prompted to call me something much worse depending on how many more Bergman movies we have!

    Wow, that is depressing. I didn't actually feel that sad after watching this movie, it was more like Bergman wanted me to be depressed (what with the only light coming from the windows in the church and the long takes focusing on people's frowns) and I just wasn't going for it.

  3. A shame you didn't like this Amanda....

    Bergman was, I believe, raised a Lutheran, but later declared himself agnostic. I guess if I considered myself anything, it would be a Christian, although I usually just use the word "believer".

    Anyway, I do get what you're saying, but to me this was just a good blueprint. A priest loses his faith. Now this, to me, is about the same as a movie about a track runner losing his legs would go. And, if there were a movie about a track runner losing his legs, I would expect it to be depressing as hell. I'm a sucker for long takes and the dreariness of it all, again is to be expected. Someone who has devoted his entire life to God and the church, just isn't getting that same old feeling anymore. In my view, this movie couldn't have been executed any other way.

    PLEASE don't take my comments to heart though. You didn't like it and that's okay. I hate when people come to my blog and try to force me to like something. That's totally NOT what I'm doing.

    1. Hi Andrew,
      You are like the most polite person on the internet; I don't think I could ever take offense to anything you say.

      That is an interesting comparison. I guess there have been tons of movies about a person losing the one thing that makes them special (Million Dollar Baby is one that comes to mind). So maybe the problem isn't in Bergman's execution but in the predicability of his idea: yes, it would suck to lose our most prized skill/ability, yes, there would be no resolve, and yes, this going to be a predicable film. I am just rambling here and I totally understand why you would like it. But for me, I just knew what was going to happen before it did and that is never a sign of a movie that I will like.

  4. I think I am sort of in between people here. Being non-religious myself it is very difficult to get into the mindset of these people, especially the priest. From an intellectual point of view it is ironic that the priest gets all the proof and signs and chances to redeem himself he could ever want, but he never sees it because he is so preoccupied with himself. A sad character, really.
    I like the ambience though. It feels like home (scary, no?), but I am not psyched about the topic.
    1963 is a very depressive year in movies.