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The Virgin Spring


Max von Sydow, Birgitta Valberg, Gunnel Lindblom, Birgitta Pettersson View All


Ingmar Bergman (Director), Ulla Isaksson (Screenplay) View All

Release: Feb. 8th, 1960
Runtime: 1 hour, 29 minutes
Devout Christians Töre and Märeta send their only daughter, the virginal Karin, and their foster daughter, the unrepentant Ingeri, to deliver candles to a distant church. On their way through the woods, the girls encounter a group of savage goat herders who brutally rape and murder Karin as Ingeri remains hidden. When the killers unwittingly seek refuge in the farmhouse of Töre and Märeta, Töre plots a fitting revenge.
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Even by the standards of early-1960s European cinema, that is a somewhat difficult scene to watch unfold - fortunately, Bergman is at least able to depict such an act without resorting to cheap sensationalism (but then again when does he ever?) In any case, as with many a Bergman film it is awfully preoccupied with faith and religion (Christianity in particular), and the faith or lack thereof belonging to the members of the family (especially Max von Sydow as the family patriarch who has no faith compared to his much more devout wife, daughter, and servant), though the acknowledgment of the guilt it lays on human nature becomes challenged when human nature begins to rear its ugly head.
Citizen Rules
Perhaps if I knew more of the ancient religious beliefs of 12th century Sweden, then I might have gotten much more out of it as I believe there was a juxtaposition of the ancient beliefs vs the modern Christian beliefs, and the film demonstrates through different events that regardless of one's beliefs, the need for understanding and revenge and forgiveness is universal.