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  • In desperation, Helge Roos (Stellan Skarsgård) kills one of his employer's oxen to feed his starving wife and baby. He soon regrets it. After covering up his crime successfully, he is convinced by the local clergyman (Max von Sydow) to confess, creating unexpected results. The clergyman, with the help of the employer's wife (Liv Ullman), then try to convince the employer, who claims to have been fond of Helge (but obviously not enough to help him) to forgive Helge. The mood is sombre and sad with many very tender moments. Many of the characters, out of desperation, act out of conflicting motives. The screenplay, cinematography, direction and acting are superb.
  • I saw this this on TV back in the 90's on either A&E or Bravo when they used to show more foreign language films. Longtime Ingmar Bergman Cinematographer Sven Nyqvist Directs and also does his own Cinematography as well as co-writes this fine film. Two of the more internationally known and acclaimed actors from Scandanavia, Liv Ullman and Max Von Sydow, who were also mentored by Bergman are in the excellent cast. Stellan Skarsgård, who is still very active in both Scandanavian and American cinema and popular Scandanavian cinema stars Ewa Fröling and Lennart Hjulström round out the cast. This film was Sweden's official submission for and was nominated by the Academy Awards for 1991 in Best Foreign Language Film but lost to the popular Italian submission Mediteranno. This has the somber, dark and coldness found in films by Bergman and incorporates a good story with good acting. I would give this an 8.5 of a possible 10 and recommend it.
  • Other reviewers have done a good job at outlining the plot, so I don't want to be redundant. I loved the movie! I saw this movie at least 14 yrs ago, but I still I remember it well. and I don't usually remember most movies I see, the next day.It was filmed in black and white which added to the somberness of the location. . It consisted of the conflict between friends and neighbors, husband and wife and the religious implications which determined the outcome. . I totally recommend this movie for sentimental people who like a serious movie and especially those who are fans of Ingmar Bergmann movies, If someone has a DVD of this film I would be willing to purchase it for up to $25.00 contact: shalimar2020@yahoo.com
  • Warning: Spoilers
    As most people know, Sven Nykvist is more famous as a cinematographer than a director, but this film is certainly a good one (I haven't seen any of his other films). Stellan Skarsgård is brilliant as the man who cannot watch his wife and child starve anymore and therefore kills one of his master's oxen and the ramifications of this action are horrible. Besides Skarsgård the film features other fine Scandinavian actors: Ewa Fröling, Max von Sydow, and Liv Ullman. Like I said, it's a good film, but as a viewer I sometimes felt an odd distance to what was going on in the movie, I don't know why I felt that, but (possible spoiler follows) the desperation in the situation after Helge has been sent to jail could have been handled better by Nykvist. Still, a fine film with fine performances by the cast. (6/10)
  • davidmillercreates21 December 2019
    This is a sad, but important, film. If you expect a Hollywood ending, look elsewhere. If you want to see beautiful cinematography, great acting and a story that really challenges, look no further.
  • Vincentiu23 April 2015
    atmosphere. story. the tension. the links between characters. the religious axis. the cast. each as part of a beautiful - in special form - film about redemption. it reminds Ingmar Bergman's filmography but that is only the first sigh impression. because it has different rhythm and a form of delicate presentation of story. because it is , like Dostoievski's work, more generous and hopeful. because it is a parable in right colors. all is impressive - the simplicity of facts, the respiration of a community, the Christian virtues. and the acting because the Bergman's actors transforms the old roles level in inspired manner, in new forms, in delicate and precise manner. see it ! because it could be more than a beautiful film.
  • Kirpianuscus15 November 2016
    the feeling to discover a religious story remains long time after the end of credits. the sin, the trust, the confession, the punishment, the freedom. and the new punishment. like a story from an old tradition about the meaning of life and about the force of rules. or, maybe, for the presence of Max van Sydow and Erland Josephson, a film keeping the mark of Ingmar Bergman. but this is only an impression. the essence - the courage to be yourself. to do the right thing in the crisis time. and to accept the answer of the others. to admit sufferance as the price to become again part of community. and to discover the reality as the only answer to yours expectations. sure, it is a parable. but , more important, a realistic portrait about a family, a community and their priest.