15 July 2007 | hereontheoutside
I don't know what to put here....it's damn good. watch it
Through a Glass Darkly marks one of the first collaborations between Bergman and his long time cinematographer Sven Nykvist (who passed away this last September). Nykvist shot films as varied as Lasse Hallestroms 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape' to Woody Allen's 'Crimes and Misdemeanors.' Nykvist's touch is present throughout the film, a style that begins to become a part of Bergman's signature mise-en-scene.
Bergman's screenplay is transitional because of it's scarcity of saturation. Using a cast of only four and only one location, the family's country home on an island off the coast of Sweden. Karin (Harriet Andersson) is slowly going mad, her family (fiancée, father and brother) are trying to understand her and not send her away, trying to let her know that things may be alright as she descends into hysteria, talking to walls, waiting for god to come out of the closet.
The film is quite simply a masterpiece. A portrayal of descent into madness and the effect on others that feels more grounded in reality than even the best of films on madness (see: Shock Corridor Samuel Fuller, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Milos Foreman, or The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada Tommy Lee Jones) Nykvist's mostly static camera gives the film a brooding sense of anticipation, lingering motionlessly, allowing the actors to move freely into deep frames, marginalizing themselves as they move about the large empty frame. The camera even goes so far as to linger a little too long at times, waiting long after the actors have exited the frame, making sure that the audience is aware that the hollowness, these spaces they live and think in exist without them, these voids the audience is watching never go away.
These sentiments are echoed by the well penned script. The father's regret over the madness of his deceased wife, the husbands jealousy, his inability to act, the nearly sexual love the brother feels for Karin, his isolation and inability to get over his immaturity. It's a delicately woven, exquisitely beautiful film on the landscapes of the mind and the solitude of life and the search for god. A good introduction to the psychological drama of Bergman for anyone unfamiliar with one cinema's masters.