Winter Light (Nattvardsgästerna) (Ingmar Bergman, 1963)
Cold Nordic Sweden is depicted in Ingmar Bergman's second part of his Silence of God trilogy Winter Light. Winter is the setting of this drama that shows a pastor, his lost of meaning in his faith, the fall of Christianity that is announced in this liberating and frustrating film for Bergman. Frustrating because he expresses his melancholy and anger against a God that never showed any sign.
One of the recurring themes of the films of Ingmar Bergman is the silence or absence of God. Especially here when the pastor (Gunnar Bjornstad) tells the depressive Jonas Persson (Max von Sydow) that God had failed on him. The relationship of the pastor Tomas and his deceased wife explains his anger and his other relation with Marta (Ingrid Thulin), the only person who considers him and has more faith than him, is his kind of redemption.
This is not an easy film and it will take many viewings to understand the profound and meaning of its plot and issues. Although, the visuals are stunning and as always Sven Nykvist surpasses himself, he is able to translate the coldness and emptiness of the church, of the light of God, and of the scenery. Being a great Ingmar Bergman enthusiast I think that this is a must see from is oeuvre but not as good as Fanny and Alexander, Wild Strawberries or The Seventh Seal.
A review by Michaël Parent