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The Virgin Spring (1960)


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Ingmar Bergman explores horrific situations in this film set in medieval Sweden.  Tore ( Max von Sydow) has a farm up in the mountains where he resides with his wife Mareta (Birgetta Valberg), daughter Karin ( Birgetta Pettersson), maid Ingeri ( Gunnel Lindblom) and his farm workers.  The plot revolves around Tore sending his daughter into town to deliver some candles to the church.  This sets off a horrific chain of events that got the film censored in the United States when it was initially released.  The plot centers around questions of faith.

The film itself features gorgeous cinematography by Sven Nykvist.  Its a major standout of the film.  The music score is by Erik Nordgren.  Bergman read about the legend of Per Tore and initally wanted to turn the source material into a play or Opera with the Royal Swedish Opera.  He later decided the film would be the best format for the material.  To accomplish it and give the film more historical accuracy for its medieval time period, Bergman hired novelist Ulla Isaakson to write the screenplay.  The film won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film.

The film is a remarkable piece of work.  I rate it a solid 9.5 out of 10.  It can be purchased from Criterion.


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