Thoughts on The Virgin Spring

Sunday, January 2, 2011 12:29 PM By Simon

-A medieval Swedish tale of a father's merciless response to the rape and murder of his daughter.

-Yes, well...where to start?

-Watching Ingmar Bergman films always make me want a sandwich. I don't know why. It might be all the bread.

-Last House on the Left drags it out.

SPOILERS, as there is no other way to discuss such a film.

-Morally bipolar, if there is such a thing, certainly morally ambivalent. You can see why audiences of the day--right before the sixties entered the sixties--would make a fuss over the semi-infamous rape scene--even though it was suspiciously short, a fact I would find funny if the context weren't so sad. But what they seem to be so callously ignoring is the murder of the Boy, victim of abuse (by said brothers) more than he is a member of the guilty party (while his brothers raped and murdered poor Karin (Birgitta Pettersson), he stood by silently, and tripped her when she tried to escape, but he didn't seem terribly aware of what was going to happen beforehand, and come on, he was, like, ten), but nonetheless...

-If I were a more dedicated, organized, intelligent reviewer, I would let the film sit with me for awhile, take the time to write out a detailed, insightful review for both new and old viewers, about the conflict underneath it all between paganism and Christianity, Odin and God, and how the 'wild' foster sister Ingeri (Gunnel Lindblom) had placed a curse on Karin that morning, and that nullified the prayers of father Tore (Max von Sydow) and mother Mareta (Birgitta Valberg), oh, how ironic...but it seems that anything I can possibly say about such a beautiful and distinguished film has been said, judging by the booklet within the Criterion case. As you may or may not know, I'm no film theorist, and I rarely make any deep observations. So I can't comment on the implications of the most powerful scene being shot from behind, or the use of shadows, the juxtaposition between how one girl rides her horse along the beach and how the other does.

-Quiet but never boring, tension without any music, grief without any great sobs, the slow process of planning your revenge against the quick, savage way you enact it, the cruel indifference of the rapists and the cruel indifference of the father, one passionless, one...not. At all. A fairy tale that morphs into a fable, doom lrking behind the flowers, and it all just renders me speechless.


SugaryCynic said...

well you managed to be thoughtful without trying to, so that works. Also, "Watching Ingmar Bergman films always make me want a sandwich" made me giggle

January 2, 2011 at 1:12 PM
Courtney Small said...

I really need to catch up on Ingmar Berman's body of work. My Berman film knowledge is embarrassingly limited. Maybe I will start with this one as it sounds far more engaging than Last House on the Left was.

January 2, 2011 at 2:55 PM
AK said...

This is one of his only major films I haven't seen (just never had the chance). Now I really want to(sounded like pretty deep observations to me)!

January 4, 2011 at 7:48 PM
Movie Reviews said...

One of my favorite Bergman films.

January 5, 2011 at 6:35 AM
Yong said...

Never knew bergman can make you want a sandwich. haha. cool blog. YBLM!!

January 28, 2011 at 10:45 PM
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