Winter Light (Nattvardsgästerna)
Directed by Ingmar Bergman
Written by Ingmar Bergman
First viewing/Netflix rental
One of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This is almost too hopeless to bear despite its beauty.
Pastor Tomas Ericsson (Gunnar Bjornstrand) is plagued by both a bad cold and a crisis of faith on the same Sunday. His church services are almost empty. Among the faithful are Jonas Persson (Max von Sydow) and his wife Karin (Gunnel Lindblom). Jonas is suicidally depressed by his fear of nuclear war. Instead of comfort, Tomas provides him with a long monologue on his own religious doubts.
Simultaneously, Tomas’s atheist girlfriend Marta (Ingrid Thulin) tries to comfort him. She badly wants to marry him. On this Sunday she brings matters to a head and will regret it.
I expected to feel pity for the preacher’s crisis of faith. Instead, I found him to be perfectly selfish. His lack of piety seemed like a lack of humanity. This is a bleak but beautiful film. These depressing 1963 films are beginning to get on my nerves.