Top 100 Films #93 – The Virgin Spring (1960)

 

029-the-virgin-spring-theredlist#93. The Virgin Spring (1960)
Directed by: Ingmar Bergman
Written by: Ulla Isaksson (based on 13th-century Swedish folktale Töres döttrar i Wänge)
Starring: Max von Sydow, Birgitta Valberg, Gunnel Lindblom, Birgitta Pettersson

Swedish auteur Ingmar Bergman is no stranger to tackling heavy subject matter, and his 1960 film The Virgin Spring is a perfect example of this.  Bergman’s movie based on a medieval folktale deals with themes of revenge, faith (or lack thereof), and the brutality of man.  The Virgin Spring follows young Karin (Birgitta Pettersson) and her servant Ingeri (Gunnel Lindblom) as they travel by horseback to deliver candles to their church.  Along the way they encounter three sinister young herdsmen who eventually rape and murder Karin as a frightened Ingeri watches from a distance.  The men later accidentally seek shelter at the house of Karin and Ingeri, where her mother and father learn of the murder and seek revenge against them.  The Virgin Spring earned Bergman his first of three Academy Awards, and helped the Swedish filmmaker break out on an international stage.  Bergman is at his very best when he’s dealing with themes of faith and innocence, as he was never afraid to ask unanswerable questions.  The Virgin Spring is a visceral, all too realistic trip through Medieval Sweden, and certainly isn’t for the faint of heart.  For anybody looking for a challenging and intellectual – but rewarding – experience, I highly recommend it.

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