Monday, December 3, 2012

THE VIRGIN SPRING (Swedish) (1960)

'Now I want to make it plain that The Virgin Spring must be regarded as aberration. It's touristic, a lousy imitation of Kurosawa.' - Ingmar Bergman  

Let me confess the fact first that this is my first Ingmar Bergman film. Why I haven’t seen a single Bergman film (like so many other Masters) till day is an inexplicable excuse! Anyway the film becomes indeed a rich experience for me and but I'm more happy since it broke my jinx of not watching a single Bergman film. Need I say I can’t resist watching his other masterpieces soon? Anyway let's get back to the film part now.  The film is set in medieval Sweden where a charming teenage daughter sent to church to deliver candles accompanied by a pregnant maid. The jealousy of one robs the innocence of the other. Karen was raped by wanton shepherds in her lone journey. The events that follow are shocking, contemplative and dipped with multiple emotions.

In its plot and theme the film interweaves multiple themes that questions morals, justice, vengeance, status of God and redemption. Though the film is moving one and loaded with religious sentiments. What makes it a timeless touch is powerful narration, spellbindingly beautiful camera work by Bergmn regular Sven Nykvist and refined acting by all lead players including towering Max von Sydow, Birgitta Valberg, Gunnel Lindblom & Birgitta Pettersson. It invokes a gamut of mixed feelings, it’s tragic, it’s spiritual, it’s brutal and yet it’s too poetic and sensible. The relevance of the film grows out of its fundamental drives of the characters within medieval framework and its so absorbing from the very first frame where we witness the inexplicable human instincts coming to play in one form or another. It is study of how strange the human nature is- the shameless brutality of shepherds, the jealous and guilt of Ingeri in contrast to innocence and purity of Karin, the urge of vengeance to redemption it’s indeed a human drama in its elemental spirit.  

Apart of Karin and his parents, the two most complex characters that seek the attention are two bystanders in front of victim-the pregnant and jealous maid of the house Ingeri and that wretched boy who becomes helpless while innocence was robbed. It was not only Karin but who lost her innocence in the forest; the boy too lost it after witnessing the cheap and shameless act driven by human instinct. Somehow I feel that Bergman made the character of Ingeri quite ambiguous one and left it’s guilt part unattended towards the climactic revenge and miracle end. 


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