Quick recap: Everybody is sad. Super sad, you guys.
Fun (?) fact: Director Ingmar Bergman’s favorite film from his career. He says that Winter Light was the most personal for him and helped him realize who he was during the filming. Which makes this movie even more sad.
My thoughts: I keep using ‘sad’ as a descriptor for the mood of Winter Light, but I really should be using words like ‘depressing’ , ‘existential’ and ‘I hope I have enough beers to make it through this movie’. In all fairness, I do normally enjoy movies that don’t end happily because such is life. But this movie was sad from the very beginning. I mean, it is called Winter Light, which is the perfectly depressing name for a movie.
Visually, the movie is beautiful. The use of black and white was the perfect choice for such a dreary film, and although they made me uncomfortable, I liked the close ups. It made the mood all the more depressing, but that was the point of the film so you might as well drive it home, you know? Especially impressive was the 6 minute shot of Tomas reading Marta’s letter. It is simply her looking right at the camera, and speaking the contents of the letter.
The story itself, of a priest going through an existential crisis is understandably a heavy subject. I get the feeling that Bergman didn’t create Winter Light (which is actually part of a series) as a date night movie, or something to make out to. Although I’m sure that there are plenty of people out there who would be into that sort of thing. Moving on. The plot is pretty straightforward and I don’t think it is any surprise that when the priest, Tomas, is unable to successfully counsel Jonas, Jonas kills himself. Like I said, if you are going for bleak, might as well go full force. Although this was a short movie, it is one that should be taken in small doses or at least through several sittings to truly grasp all that is going on. Not me, of course, but you guys go ahead and knock yourselves out.
I don’t think it’s possible to have a ‘favorite part’ because it’s just not that sort of movie, but I was extremely interested in the discussion of Christ at the end of the movie. Algot, one of the members of the church, counsels Tomas after he has renounced his faith and brings up the point that everyone focuses on the physical suffering of Jesus. He goes on to say that instead, people should look at all the betrayals that He suffered including praying to God while He was near death, and not getting a response. Algot ends with the opinion that God’s Silence is worse than anything else. Like I said, heavy stuff.
Final review: 3/5. Wouldn’t watch again, but if you are looking for your own existential crisis (come on, who isn’t these days?), then this is the movie for you.
Up next: If….
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